Member Login Calendar Contact Us
January 2019 Newsletter

JANUARY 2019 Newsletter



The holidays have come and gone (see photo of Judith in front of one of the Blaine House military themed trees).  The kittens are sleeping for the moment and I'm taking the time to think about things that sometimes I take for granted.  For example, what do I know about GCFM?  I joined the Camden Garden Club in the winter of 2003 and was very fortunate that Molly Foster took me under-wing and asked that I finish out her term as Awards Chairman because she was soon to be installed as Club President.  So, I became aware of the importance of recognizing our club members within the GCFM umbrella.  In 2007 she asked me to serve as the Registrar for the 2008 Annual Convention.  During this time I learned more about the Medomak District and worked at my first convention.  NGC President Barbara May attended and brought focus on the role of NGC in relationship to GCFM.  After six years as GCFM Treasurer, two years as Vice President, and now a year and a half as President, attending NGC and NEGC meetings, I reflect on what GCFM means to me.  First and foremost, GCFM has allowed me to meet and work with some really fine, dynamic, giving, like-minded folks.  I think the networking and sharing of information at club level through NGC is key for me.  I'm confident that we benefit greatly from the vast range of knowledge available to us and that people want to share.  I've been able to see how things fit together and that together we make a difference.  We all work at our club level to beautify our communities, educate our youth, and support our seniors through creating and maintaining projects and programs.  In Camden, we're known for our hanging flower baskets in the summer and our Christmas wreaths adorning the lampposts in the winter.  Each club has its own way of enhancing our communities and providing speaking programs to enlighten our members on gardening topics and stewardship of our natural resources.  Environmental and conservation advocacy is important in our State.  I remember when the issue of billboards surfaced again.  The GCFM rallied to give a state-level voice at hearings in Augusta.  We were heard -- I don't believe that individual clubs would have had an influence.  Finally, I see supporting Scholarship as a key element of the synergy of how we interrelate through the NGC network.  Each year bright talented youth have the opportunity to receive financial scholarship awards and recognition.  We often have students receive an NGC scholarship award on top of State and Club awards.  We can make such a big difference in their lives.  Please take a moment to reflect on the many benefits you and your clubs enjoy as a part of GCFM.  Looking forward, there's a plethora of flower and garden shows coming up.  The Portland Museum of Art's "Art in Bloom" is coming soon -- February 13-17.  Last year was fantastic and they promise it will be even more dazzling this year.  Several clubs in the GCFM create beautiful floral interpretations of art displays.  GCFM will again have an information booth at the Maine Flower Show, March 28-31 in Portland.  I hope we have representation from throughout the State to help staff our booth.  Last year we found that having diversity really gave a fuller idea of who we are. The Bangor Flower and Garden Show runs April 12-14 and the Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show on May 17-19 in Fryeburg are also scheduled.  I'll close by reminding you to make your reservations for the 2019 GCFM Annual Convention to be held June 18-19 at the Village by the Sea Resort in Wells.  The keynote speaker is Mr. John Forti, a well known horticulturalist, presenting "Eat Your Yard."  It's going to be a fantastic event and you'll surely enjoy it!  See our article in this issue for further details.  Thank you and remember that plants are preparing for spring, even as they're under a blanket of white.          


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  We asked Debbie Sherman of the Kennebec Valley Garden Club to give our readers a "behind the scenes" look at what's involved in decorating the Blaine House in Augusta every Christmas holiday season.  If you missed this year's tour, watch for next year's announcement on how to get in to see the beautiful Maine Governor's Mansion decorated for the holidays!)  Every year the First Lady of Maine is given a chance to pick a theme that will be carried out by members of the KVGC.  This year's theme was "A Holiday Tribute to our Armed Forces."  Chairwomen for 2018's event were Wanda Hendrickson and new member Deb Cairns who Wanda sponsored.  Once the theme is chosen, all the members meet at the Blaine House for information and a walk through.  These members are then asked to pick an area they'd like to decorate.  Usually 3-5 people are given that area depending on the size of the room.  From that point on, each small group meets at different homes to discuss ideas and start the decorations that will then be taken to the Blaine House.  Hours are spent on preparing the yearly extravaganza and "magic" happens!  A week prior to the event, boxes, totes, lights, garlands, ornaments, floral displays and everything in between arrives.  The entire main floor is abuzz with activity and in three hours, the once stark first floor is magically transformed into a splendid array depicting the theme chosen.  Excitement abounds and members feel confident that once again the invited guests will be enchanted on another journey of splendor.  So many guests want to visit that four sessions are done on one day.  Then the Blaine House stays decorated for other functions until a few days before the New Year.  Members return to take down, pack away, and discard some of the ornaments and floral pieces waiting for a new year, new theme, and new "magical extravaganza".


Coastal Maine in the spring offers the best of two worlds -- warm weather and sea breezes without the crowds.  With this in mind, it's a great time to plan your trip to the 2019 GCFM Convention "Bringing Communities Together Through Gardening" at the Village by the Sea Resort and Conference Center in Wells.  Our Convention this year is a two-day event to be held June 18 and 19, hosted by the Piscataqua District.  This overview presents just a flavor of the opportunities and choices GCFM members can expect.  Watch the GCFM website for the Registration Form and Schedule of Events which will be posted soon.  Copies of the Registration Form and Schedule will also be sent to your local Club President for distribution.


Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through the Convention.  Vendors will be on site all day.  Remember to visit our vendor tables early as they will ONLY be offering their wares on Tuesday.  Opportunities to check out raffle items and buy your raffle tickets, as well as bid on silent auction items will be available all day Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.  Please check all our offerings and make your bids!  The highlight of opening day will be the Garden Tour.  The Committee has been hard at work to identify some very special garden experiences for your tour.  Venues include a variety of private gardens from spectacular coastal seaside gems to quiet hidden escapes.  There's an antique lover's dream offering a garden tour with the opportunity to browse the antique store finding that one-of-a-kind treasure.  The day also includes an owner-guided tour of a small organic farm that provides farm to table products to some of the top area restaurants.


Workshops and demonstrations are being planned providing additional opportunities for those members who prefer to spend their first day at the Resort.  For those interested in exploring nature on your own this first day (or if you extend your stay), we recommend two area seacoast sites that are premiere nature preserves.  If wildlife is your draw, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is just minutes away offering trails and exhibits.  Close by, one also finds the Wells National Estuarine Reserve at Laudholm Farm which offers an ocean side nature walk  accompanied by a registered guide (see photo at right).  Additional information about these options are available at their respective websites by clicking the links above and at our Convention Registration Desk when you arrive.  If shopping is more to your liking, Wells and the adjacent communities of Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and York are short rides from the Resort.  Don't forget the Rt. 1 Kittery Outlets are also a quick drive away -- more reasons to add days to your stay in southern Maine!


Late Tuesday afternoon will feature our President's Reception from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the Resort's Gazebo Garden offered to all registrants prior to the dinner and program that follows.  Light fare will be offered during the Reception.  This is a great opportunity to meet our Keynote Speaker, Mr. John Forti.  After the reception, guests will be ushered into the Resort's Ballroom for our banquet.  Keynote Speaker John Forti is a well known horticulturalist whose blog, THE HEIRLOOM GARDENER, has a widespread following.  He'll be presenting his program entitled "Eat Your Yard."


The Annual Meeting, election and installation of our new GCFM President and elected Board, as well as our Awards Luncheon caps the final day of the Convention.  This year's Luncheon speaker is Ms. Martha Chiarchiaro, lecturer and graduate of Williams College who'll enlighten us with her presentation entitled "Floral Images Through the Ages."  Martha has over thirty years of experience and is a well known lecturer on this topic.  We know you'll be enchanted by her presentation! 


The Convention Planning Committee has secured excellent room rates from the Village by the Sea Resort.  Note that the resort features one and two bedroom condos that are perfect for sharing with GCFM friends and family. Rates for one bedrooms are $129 and two bedrooms are $149 per night (plus 9% tax) with a limited number of extended nights available at the same rate.   All condos are fully furnished, offer kitchenettes for your convenience and other family friendly amenities.   There are trolley services available in the area to nearby beaches, shopping, and restaurants for those taking advantage of an extended stay in the area.  We've also acquired additional accommodations at the Elmwood Resort, immediately adjacent to Village by the Sea.  Elmwood is also offering GCFM members the same rates and type of room options (fully furnished condos) as Village by the Sea.  The Resort will work to provide you with the best accommodations available when you call.  Please book your accommodations early for the best selection.  Remember that rooms at the Convention site are limited.  So it's imperative that you book EARLY for the best selection. Reservations can be made by contacting the Village by the Sea Reservation Desk at 207-646-1100Be sure to mention that you're a GCFM member to secure the Convention rate!


It's time to be thinking about which of your club projects should be recognized with a possible award at this year's GCFM Convention!  The GCFM award applications are due by APRIL 1st.  Please review the GCFM Awards List to select awards that your club would like to apply for.  To recognize all your hard work and accomplishments please be sure to apply for these awards.  If I can answer any questions please contact me at, or by phone at 207-633-7439.  Thanks to all the clubs who submitted Yearbooks for awards.  First place clubs will be submitted to the NEGC for Regional award consideration.  Here are some handy tips:  1. No need to report to GCFM Committee Chairmen anymore -- just to the State Awards Chairman. 2. Each award applied for needs to have its own GCFM Award Application Form with the exception of the Club of Distinction Award which has its own form. 3. The Awards Reporting Form is used as a brief summary of those projects that received points on the Club of Distinction Award Form.  Please review this new reporting form and how it will work with the Club of Distinction Award Form. 4. Did your club purchase and deliver copies of THE FRIGHTENED FROG and/or THE SAVED SEED (part of the NGC President's Project and can be part of the points on Club of Distinction).  5.  A new GCFM award for websites -- the Suzanne Bushnell Website Award -- is listed on the website under the AWARDS tab (click on the Awards List and scroll down to find this new website award).  I look forward to all the award applications from all our clubs.  PLEASE APPLY!!  Again for any questions please email Kathleen Marty at


Is one of your New Year's resolutions to learn more about floral design?  If it is, it's time to register for the next series of Judges Council Design classes.  The new Registration Form showing the schedule of classes is is now linked to our HOME PAGE.  Just click this link to download a copy of the form and print to send in.  The first class is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6 and will concentrate on learning how to create a Petite Design.  The March session will include an introduction to basics and design principles in case you haven't been attending previous classes.  All classes will be held this term the first Wednesday of the month at the Auditorium of St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Road, in Falmouth.  You can sign up for the entire series of six classes for $50, or attend individual classes for $10 each.  Non-member price is $15 per class.  Checks should be sent to Linda Frinsko at 24 Mountview Road, Gorham, ME 04038.


Last year more than 5000 people enjoyed the magical floral displays at the 2018 Portland Museum of Art's ART IN BLOOM.  Because of the overwhelming interest in the event, this year's version, slated to run from February 13 through February 17 will have extended hours to accommodate the crowds.  As was the case last year, the GCFM will be in evidence as a few of our talented floral designers have been asked to provide arrangements interpreting various artist's paintings.  In an announcement on the Museum's website, they note that workshops are filling up fast.  For a full schedule, click this link to the Museum's website.  Also, if you're already a member of the PMA, admission to the ART IN BLOOM event is included.  Admission for non-members is $18 for adults and $15 for seniors


"A Walk in Maine" is what you'll enjoy when you attend this year's Maine Flower Show which runs from March 28 to March 31 at Thompson's Point in Portland.  The Maine Flower Show, sponsored by the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association, is one of the largest gardening and horticultural shows in the region. The Show plans to create an environment that invites attendees to interact with native plants and immerse in the environments that characterize Maine.  As we have for the last two flower shows, the GCFM will have an exhibit booth staffed by volunteers from several of our clubs.  In addition, we've been granted a speaking slot once again which will feature former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell and GCFM Treasurer Judy Stallworth presenting a talk called "Growing Dahlias in Maine."  Their talk is scheduled for opening day, Thursday, March 28th, at 12:30 p.m.  If you'd like to help staff our exhibit booth, you can sign up for a three hour shiftStroudwater Dsitrict Director Carmen Weatherbie is taking the lead again this year in coordinating volunteers.  You can see what slots are still available and sign up online by clicking this link or by calling Carmen at 207-317-0733.  You DO NOT have to be a Stroudwater District member to volunteer -- any member of GCFM is welcome to help!  For more information on tickets and general show information, click this link.  For those interested in leaving the driving to someone else, consider taking the DOWNEASTER train from Brunswick and Freeport to the north, or Saco and Wells to the south which will take you to the station in Portland and walking distance to the show.  Last year shuttle vans ran from the train station to the show.   


St. Mary's Garden Club will be holding their 6th Great Gardener Series on April 5 (snow date is April 6) at St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Road, Falmouth.  The speaker this year will be Andy Brand, plant collections curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.  His topic is "Go Native:  Plants that Work in YOUR Yard."  Tickets are on sale in January for $20 at or from a club member.  The event includes a pre-talk social hour at 5 p.m. with complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres.  The presentation begins at 6 p.m.  For 27 years Andy Brand was employed at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, Connecticut  where he was the nursery manager.  In March of 2018 Andy joined the staff at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens as plant curator.  His responsibilities include plant selection and introducing new plants to the Gardens' collection and maintaining plant records and labels.  He is Past President of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association and is an avid naturalist.  He is a co-founder and Past President of the Connecticut Butterfly Association.  He has put his interest in native plants to use as a volunteer for the New England Plant Conservation Program where he has helped monitor historical sites of endangered native plants.  He has spoken to groups statewide on a range of topics including native plants, new and unusual ornamentals, butterfly gardening, and Maine butterflies and their life histories.  Andy, along with his wife, Michelle live in Bristol.  Andy also has a Facebook page, Seeing NatureObservations from New England which is dedicated to native flora and fauna.  Please join us for another fun and informative gardeners' night out.  (Contributed by Marianne Dodge of the St. Mary's Garden Club.)


For those of you living in central Maine who can't make it to the Maine Flower Show in Portland, why not try to attend the Bangor Flower and Garden Show at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14!  The show will feature landscaped gardens in bloom, floral, horticultural and botanical decor along with the latest products and services for the outdoors.  There are a number of participating exhibitors this year.  Tickets are priced at $10.  For more information click this link.


For those of you who love to create floral designs -- whether you're a novice or a long-time designer -- the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts has put out a call for your help.  This year's Boston Flower and Garden Show is slated to run from March 13-17 at the Seaport World Trade Center, and as they've done done in the past, the Massachusetts Federation is working hard to put on another great design competition at the Boston show.  This year they'd like to encourage more novice and recreational designers to get involved with entering designs.  While the theme of the overall Boston event is The Beauty of Balance, the actual floral design show is called Island Getaway with the various classes suggesting scenes from the islands.  For example, Class 5, "Let's Go Diving" invites designers to create an underwater design.  The complete Flower Show Schedule and the Entry Form can be found on the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts website by clicking this link and looking under the photo button for the Boston Flower and Garden Show.  Completed entry forms should be sent electronically to Cynthia Chapra, the Entries Chairman at  If you have any questions contact Nancy Costa, the Flower Show Chairman for the Massachusetts Federation at 781-248-4038.  An exhibitors meeting will be held Saturday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. at Elm Bank, home of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, MA.


"Gathering on the Gulf" is the theme of the 90th Annual National Garden Club Convention to be held April 29 to May 2 in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.  At this year's event Gay Austin of Mississippi will be installed as our next National Garden Club President as will former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell who'll become the next New England Garden Clubs' Region Director.  Engaging speakers and interesting tours are slated during the Convention.  Tours include visits to lovely botanic gardens, such as the historic Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama, and to the world class WWII Museum in New Orleans with added stops around the city of New Orleans.  For outer space buffs, you can visit the John C. Stennis Space Center.  Because of its central location on the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi is a central hub to offer tours that venture to adjacent states.  You can also explore the southern charm of the city of Biloxi itself, known for its centuries-old live oak trees and sandy beaches.  For more information on the Convention, click this link to the NGC website.


The NGC is once again inviting all photography lovers to enter its newest photo contest which runs from January 1 to April 1, 2019.  Winning entries will be displayed at this year's Biloxi Convention.  With the theme "In Wildness is the Preservation of the World," the NGC is looking for photos which reflect the following:  Class 1: PLANT AMERICA -- native plants; Class 2: SCENIC AMERICA -- image of landscape and/or seascape; Class 3: SMALL WORLD -- close-up macro of native animals, insects, and/or plants; Class 4: WEB OF LIFE -- monochrome featuring patterns in nature; Class 5: WEATHER FORECAST -- image featuring weather; and Class 6: CLIMATE CHANGE -- altered reality using creative camera techniques in-camera and/or by post processing.  The contest is open to all NGC garden club members (meaning all of our member clubs).  Complete rules and guidelines for submitting photos are available on the NGC website by clicking this link.


The New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) is seeking enthusiastic people who have a commitment to plant conservation and protecting natural habitats by participating in the Plant Conservation Volunteer (PCV) Program.  The Program engages volunteers to collect information on rare plants and their habitats across all six New England states.  The Society offers free field trips and some learning opportunities for those who wish to put their botanical skills to work!  To apply, visit the NEWFS website by clicking this linkElectronic applications are due by February 1st to be considered for the 2019 field season.


The Maine Forest Service just issued its YEAR IN REVIEW report on the emerald ash borer which made its entry for the first time in Maine in 2018.  In our immediate region, the southern York County towns of Acton, Lebanon, Berwick and Shapleigh are now under an Emergency Order to stop the movement of certain ash products and untreated hardwood firewood.  Public hearings are scheduled in February to talk about the quarantine as well as a proposed rule change concerning gypsy moths which are also making a comeback.  And if this wasn't enough bad news, the browntail moth is spreading as well.  For those who live in the Boothbay area, a public information session sponsored by the Boothbay Regional Land Trust is slated for Tuesday, January 22 at 3 p.m. at the Land Trust's Oak Point Farm.  Advance registration is required because of limited seating.  Call Tracey Hall at 207-633-4818 to register or send an email to  For more information on how you can participate in the Tree Trap Network to study the potential spread of the emerald ash borer on your own property, contact Colleen Teerling at the Maine Forest Service at


February 13-17
Art in Bloom, Portland Museum of Art
March 2-10
Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia Convention Center
March 6
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI: Marilyn Traiser
March 13-17
Boston Flower Show, Seaport World Trade Center
March 28-31
Maine Flower Show, Thompson's Point, Portland
April 3
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI: Marilyn Traiser


Related Articles:
No News For this Zone. Please Try Later
Search Articles:   

Discover More

Contact Us

Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter
National Garden Clubs, Inc.
New England Garden Clubs
U of ME Cooperative Extension
Site Map

Copyright ©2015 Garden Club Federation of Maine. All rights reserved.
Site design by Elm Street Marketing Essentials.