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March 2019 Newsletter

MARCH 2019 Newsletter



Greetings to all!  I imagine we are all gearing up for spring.  It's time to remember what changes we want to make to our gardens as we wait for the first snowdrops, crocuses, and hyacinths to poke their heads through the snow and ice.  It's always amazing how fast these little dynamos can change the face of our landscapes.  Well, I don't know about you, but I'm definitely ready!  While we wait so patiently, it's flower show season.  The Maine Flower Show in Portland is coming at the end of the month, March 28th to the 31st.  This year we have a fantastic location with high visibility and will be demonstrating the GCFM Garden locator that has been developed by Ellen Jackson, President of the Kennebec Valley Garden Club.  Many GCFM clubs have names that don't necessarily identify where they are situated.  When someone asks, "Where is a garden club in my area?" we may not be able to answer.  This should help in linking the club name with where it meets.  We can always use more volunteers -- join in and see how it works.  I'm very appreciative of the GCFM volunteers, primarily from the Stroudwater District, who are organizing our exhibit and presentations.  We've had mostly the same volunteers year after year.  This is not a Stroudwater District-only event.  I urge members from all Districts to join in to make this representative of the GCFM throughout the state.  The GCFM is also giving a presentation on Blue Star Markers during the Bangor Flower and Garden Show on April 14th and 15thLinda Redman, Blue Star Marker Chairman and I will be representing GCFM at the show.  There are several other flower shows throughout the state and New England.  Please Google them for time and location.  The GCFM Annual Convention is rapidly approaching.  Remember June 18th and 19th at the Village by the Sea Resort in Wells.  The Piscataqua District Convention Planning Committee is hard at work to bring you one of the best yet.  The Keynote Speaker will be horticulturist John Forti speaking on the topic "Eat Your Yard."  The luncheon speaker will be Ms. Martha Chiarchiaro presenting "Floral Images Through the Ages."  Of course, we'll have the Garden Tour and several other events for you to enjoy.  If you haven't yet, please go to the GCFM website and register.  Don't forget to reserve your rooms as well.  (Please read the article on this awesome convention.)  I look forward to seeing you there!  By this time, I hope all of you have participated in the GCFM survey that has been emailed to you.  I have asked Wendy Cote, Personnel, Policy and Procedure Chairman, to examine the process of GCFM conventions in relationship to the Districts.  Over the past several years I've heard several members express frustration with the way we're currently planning and executing annual conventions.  We want to learn your concerns in order to better understand what the significant issues might be so we can determine how to address them.  I believe this survey will give us the starting tools to get the feedback to help us begin this process.  I plan for the results to be discussed at the GCFM April Board Meeting, and then, hope to carry this dialogue to you when I come to the District Annual Meetings this spring.  Please spend some time filling out the survey because it's very important for any healthy organization to hear what their members want and think to enable them to become a stronger, more viable entity.  The due date to fill out the survey is March 25thClick this link to take you to the survey.  With my best regards, Judith


The calendar may say March but it's only three months till we celebrate the next GCFM Convention -- "Bringing Communities Together Through Gardening" at the Village by the Sea Resort and Conference Center in Wells.  This is a two-day event to be held June 18th and 19th, hosted by the Piscataqua District.  We're pleased to announce that the Registration Form and the Schedule of Events are now posted on our website on the HOME page.  You can print the Registration Form and send it along with your check to Marjory Stewart, Convention Registrar, at the address given on the form.  The deadline to get your Convention Registration Form postmarked is May 27th.  If you haven't reserved a room yet, you need to call right away as rooms are going fast.  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. 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!  The deadline for room reservations is May 18th.


One of the highlights of any GCFM convention is always the garden tour!  Attendees flock to the gardens to be inspired by the beauty created by the individual garden owners, and to get ideas for their own gardens.  Here is just a sampling of what you'll see on this year's Convention Garden Tour.  Welcome to The Farm Antiques (photo at left) -- a unique antique business located minutes away from the Village by the Sea Resort on property originally planned and planted as a tree farm on 150 acres of land.  The gardens at The Farm encompass both sides of Mildram Road and a couple of acres around three buildings.  They were started in 1960 and continue to be a work in progress.  Once you arrive, not only will you discover a lovely antiques store that begs you to explore, but more importantly, you'll find yourself surrounded by beautifully tended gardens, woodlands, fields and ponds.  All of the gardens are planted and maintained by the business owner herself.  Another gem is The Mather Farm.  Join us for a lively discussion on growing "Farm to Table" with owner and author Mort Mather (photo at right).  He'll share how he was inspired to create this extensive "farm to table" enterprise and explain how a vast supply of his produce ends up in one of the area's best known and treasured restaurants (Joshua's) run by his family.  He grows one and a third acres of certified organic vegetables.  By June 18th of last year he'd supplied his son's restaurant with asparagus and arugula.  Mr. Mather will also be sharing tried and true ideas and tips for extending the growing season including the use of his greenhouse.  A private garden on the tour will show how the garden evolves from year to year.  The primary goal of the owners is continuous color throughout the season.  Some personal favorites are peonies and poppies.   Window boxes contain lots of variety and color.  Visitors will see a large fence that was installed many years ago to protect the garden from the Drakes Island deer population (photo above left).  On the beach side, the owners let the rosa rugosa grow naturally.  Another garden is owned by a GCFM member and her husband.  They moved to Wells in 2014 so she tells us the flowerbeds are a work in progress.  The soil on five acres is 80% sand with a very low pH so work is being done on improving the soil quality.  Her husband is a bee keeper so she's interested in promoting habitat for pollinators.  She's also a fan of the whimsical and there will be a scavenger hunt for those who want to participate while touring this garden (photo above right).


It's once again GCFM Awards season and time to review all your club projects for 2018.  The deadline to apply for all awards is April 1st.  Take the time to look at what you've done for the year (January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018) and match them to the GCFM Awards offered.  A full listing of awards are on the GCFM website under the AWARDS tab at or by clicking this link.  You can access the Award Application by clicking this link.  Did your club create a new website?  Apply for the new Suzanne Bushnell Website Award.  It will be awarded for the first time in June at the Convention.  Here are a few Award Application Tips:  1) All Award applications are submitted to only the State Awards Chairman.  2) The Reporting Form is used as a brief summary of those projects that received points on the Club of Distinction application (click the links to take you to the forms).  Please review this new form by clicking this link and see how it works with the Club of Distinction Rating Form.  3) Did your club purchase and deliver copies of The Frightened Frog and/or The Saved SeedThese are part of the NGC President's Project and can be part of the points on the Club of Distinction Form.  4) Clubs working with youth programs, please look at all the Youth Awards available (found on the GCFM Awards List by scrolling down the page).  5) Photos as part of your application are always helpful.  Size them down so they'll fit on one page and can be accepted electronically.  I look forward to all the award applications.  PLEASE APPLY!  See you at the June Convention to receive your recognition for your hard work.  Any questions -- please e-mail Kathleen Marty at or by clicking this link.


We're pleased to announce that the St. Mary's Garden Club is the recipient of a 2019 National Garden Club Plant America Grant to help defray non-construction costs in the redesign of the garden that the Club maintains adjacent to St. Mary's Church where the Club meets.  The main ornamental garden was established in 1944, meeting the guidelines of the Club to promote awareness of gardening and its environmental impact through education and community activity.  A memorial garden dedicated to a member's granddaughter, was established at a later date.  Recently, a major building and grounds renovation dramatically changed the habitat of the garden, increasing maintenance requirements and causing the decline of the health of the memorial garden.  In 2018 a committee of Club members began a three year project of redesign and renovation with several goals in mind:  1) Transitioning from a perennial-heavy garden to shrubs and trees with multi-seasonal interest.  An emphasis was put on using Maine natives or using plants with wildlife habitat value that required less irrigation, no pesticide applications, and less maintenance overall.  2) Showcasing environmentally-sound best management practices, installing high-organic soil to reduce watering needs, establishing a compost area, removing invasives without chemical pesticides, and using wood chips from removing or pruning campus trees.  3)  Making the gardens accessible to the mobility-impaired.  4)  Creating intimate seating areas for individual or group use, for enjoying the gardens or personal reflection.  5)  Reorienting the gardens to increase visibility and as an invitation to visitors.  The Club is defraying all construction costs for the project.  All active members are involved in development and maintenance and as they are able, in planting new plants.  Those not physically able to work in the garden assist in fund raising.  Club members and individuals from the community have donated funds for trees and shrubs.  Garden plans were created to divide the project into sections to be completed over three years.  The second year's work will commence this spring and the garden redesign will be completed in 2020.  Recently the Church Altar Guild voted to cover remaining plant material costs for 2019.  The Plant America Grant will defray the cost of plants and benches needed to complete the project in 2020.  (Article submitted by Marianne Dodge, President, St. Mary's Garden Club.)


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  It's once again time to plan to attend your district's annual meeting!  The information provided below is what we've been able to ascertain from the districts when the newsletter went to press.  For updated information on your own district's meeting, check with your club president.)


The Seacoast Garden Club will host the Piscataqua District Annual Meeting on Wednesday, April 24th at the Community House in Kennebunkport.  This year's theme is a flower gardener's version of "farm to table".  The speaker for the meeting will be Cheryl Monroe whose talk is entitled "Grow It, Cut It, Arrange It."   Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. with light morning refreshments served.  After the business meeting and gardening presentation, a light luncheon will be served.  Cost to attend is $20.  Invitations and Registration Forms will be sent to Piscataqua District clubs in early March.


The Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Avenue in Portland will be the venue for this year's Stroudwater District Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 25th"Expanding Your Gardening Horizons" is the theme with two programs planned for attendees.  The morning program will feature Jana Milbocker of Enchanted Gardens talking about her book The Garden Tourist.  The afternoon program will be a mini flower show sampler presented by Maine Judges Council member Marilyn Traiser.  Club members have been invited to participate by creating floral design entries in two classes.  Also, attendees are asked to bring horticulture specimens to be judged as well.  The venue will be open at 7:30 a.m. for those that come early with entries for the flower show.  Registration begins at 9:15 a.m. with the business meeting to follow at 10:00.  Cost to attend is $22 which includes the programs and lunch.  Deadline for reservations is April 15th.  Hosts for the meeting are the Osewantha Garden Club and the Scarborough Garden Club.  For more information, contact June McClean by clicking this link.  To learn more about entering the flower show, contact Marilyn Traiser by clicking this link.


"Growing Irises with Harriet Robinson" will be the program of the Penobscot District Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 2nd.  Harriet is a member of the Foothills Garden Club and the 2nd Vice President of the GCFM.  The meeting will be held at the Machias Savings Bank, 581 Wilson Street in Brewer.  Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the cost to attend is a $2 registration fee payable at the door and $10 for lunch and the program (payable in advance).  Each club should send one check to cover all members attending from that club to Linda Weinmann, Brewer Garden and Bird Club Treasurer, 29 Forest Knoll, Orrington, ME 04474.  The Brewer Garden and Bird Club is the host for this event.


Noted garden author Kerry Ann Mendez will speak on "Inspired Garden Design Lessons from Magnificent Gardens" to attendees at the Medomak District Annual Meeting on Monday, May 6th.  The event will be hosted by the Bath Garden Club and held at the Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington Street in Bath.  Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. with coffee, tea and pastries available at 9:30.  Lunch is included in the cost of $30 for GCFM members and $35 for non-members.  The final RSVP date is April 15th.  For more information contact Colby Kavanagh by clicking this link.


The Bucksport Garden Club will host members of the St. Croix District for this year's Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 15th.  The venue will be the Alamoosook Lakeside Inn, 229 Soper Road, in Orland.  Wildlife Biologist Danielle D'Auria will present a program on loons.  Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. with the business meeting to begin at 10:30.  The fee of $30 covers the program and a luncheon of wraps, sandwiches and salads.  After the meeting attendees are invited to enjoy the lakeside grounds surrounding the Inn.  It's requested that each club send just one check to cover all members to Jay Barnes, 5 Christian Ridge Road, Ellsworth, ME 04605.  Each club should also provide a list of all those attending from the club and indicate if a member requests a vegetarian or gluten free meal.  April 17th is the deadline to register.


The Central Maine Garden Club will host members of the Kennebec District on Monday, May 20th at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 60 Eustis Parkway in Waterville.  The featured speaker will be Jean Vose, master gardener, beekeeper, and certified horticulturalist talking about "Native Pollinators for the Kennebec Valley."  The fee is $25 which covers morning coffee and snacks, and a lunch of quiche, salad and dessert.  Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. with the business meeting to follow at 10:00.  Checks should be made out to the Central Maine Garden Club and sent to Marilyn Harmon, 57 Wilkes Street, Waterville, ME 04901.  Any questions should be directed to Harriet Gosnell at 568-3267.


An enthusiastic group of aspiring floral designers gathered at St. Mary's Church on March 6th to learn the principles of creating a "petite design."  Leading the class was Maine Judges Council instructor Linda Frinsko (in photo at left) with assistance from Judges Council member Nancy Atwell.  This was the first class of Series #5 of floral design classes offered by Judges Council members.  The next class will be April 3rd when students will learn about creating a tray size place setting.  On May 1st, a class on creating an underwater design will be offered. Judges Council members are hoping that by offering the classes, more clubs will consider hosting a flower show, whether it be a full standard show or a smaller show, such as the mini flower show sampler being offered at the Stroudwater District Annual Meeting.  The 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.  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.  If you haven't signed up in advance for the entire series of six classes for $50, you can still 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.


We're pleased to announce that the mapping app for smart phones and other electronic devices that Kennebec Valley Garden Club President Ellen Jackson has been working on for a year will debut at the Maine Flower Show in Portland.  The Show runs from the Preview Party the evening of March 27th through Sunday, March 31st.  Ellen was a volunteer at the GCFM exhibit booth last year and noticed that many people were interested in learning more about garden clubs that might be located in their area of the State.  Ellen works in the field of developing maps for the State of Maine, so she was the perfect person to come up with a solution!  At this year's show, Ellen plans to have a computer and screens to demonstrate to visitors how the app will work.  We're still looking for a few more volunteers to work on Sunday afternoon, March 31st, the final day of the show.  If you can help, call Carmen Weatherbie at 207-317-0733 or click this link to send her an e-mail.  Also at this year's show, Former GCFM President Suzanne Bushnell and current GCFM Treasurer Judy Stallworth (photo at right) will give a presentation on Growing Dahlias in Maine on Thursday, March 28th at 12:30 p.m.  For ticket prices and more information on the show click this link.


Blue Star Marker Chairman Linda Redman and GFM President Judith Tarbox will represent the GCFM at 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.


After a year of planning, the Kennebec Valley Garden Club (KVGC) presented an Art in Bloom event Sunday, February 24th at the Lithgow Library in Augusta.  The Friends of the Lithgow and the Library sponsored the event and KVGC members and Library volunteers were on hand to welcome the public and answer any questions about the Library and Garden Club events.  Retired Library Director Betsy Pohl and Friends of LIthgow Library Chairman David Madore led fun, fact-filled tours of the Library and answered questions throughout the day.  The public enjoyed the KVGC treats and flutist Judy Mank played Irish compositions throughout the event which brightened a snowy, cold late winter day.  Eight KVGC members (Rhonda Bolduc, Tammy Costigan, Karen Foster, Shelly Hanson, Ellen Jackson, Kathy Landrum, Julie Meagher and Sharon Ann Paradis) as well as four local florists displayed their talents throughout the Library with many art-inspired floral designs from art and photography provided by local Maine artists.  Soil test boxes from the University of Maine Extension Service were available for the public to get a jump start on spring planting.  Members of the KVGC and the Library celebrated the success of Art in Bloom and are looking forward to repeating the event next year with more fun garden-related activities.  (Article submitted by Ellen Jackson, President of KVGC.)


The Maine Forest Service just issued a press release on March 8th with troubling news.  It's reporting that the emerald ash borer which made its entry for the first time in Maine in 2018, has now spread to a third town in York County.  In late February the Forest Service, with the support of landowners and assistance from Central Maine Power and Lucas Tree Experts, collected branches from ash trees along roadsides in Acton, Lebanon and Berwick.  Forest Service staff peeled the bark off these branches to look for any signs of the emerald ash borer (EAB).  Live EAB larvae were found on two of the trees sampled, one each from the towns of Acton and Berwick.  Although these trees still appeared completely healthy, it was determined they were infested with the insect.  These were the first emerald ash borers found within trees in York County since the previous sign of the insect were adults that had actually flown into traps.  Given this result, the Maine Forest Service is convinced that the insect is established, at least sporadicall,y within three miles of the New Hampshire border for at least 17 miles between Acton and Berwick.  The Forest Service would like to get a clearer picture of where the emerald ash borer is established in York County, especially in towns near the New Hampshire border.  If you live near the border, have ash trees on your property, and would be willing to work with the Maine Forest Service to track this insect, please contact Colleen Teerling at for more information.


With the first day of spring fast approaching, don't forget that your club has the opportunity to gain visibility in your community by celebrating a few "holidays" coming in April.  Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22nd.  Many organizations spend the day doing things like cleaning the roadsides of litter, clearing debris from our public spaces and parks, and working with youth groups to learn more about "Mother Earth".  Arbor Day falls on April 26th and it's a great opportunity to plant a tree in one of the public gardens that you tend for your town.  Now's the time to start planning to celebrate National Garden Week, June 2nd to the 8th.  The National Garden Club's website has a poster you can download and insert your own club's name and then display in a prominent location, such as your local library or a garden center.  Their website also has lots of ideas you can use to highlight  your club and how you contribute to gardening in your community.


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
April 12-14
Bangor Flower and Garden Show, Cross Insurance Center, Bangor
April 15
GCFM Board Meeting, 71 Stone St., Augusta
April 29-May 3
NGC Annual Convention, Biloxi, Mississippi
May 1
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI:  Marilyn Traiser


Judith Tarbox


Garden Club Federation of Maine

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