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September 2019 Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 2019 Newsletter



It's hard to believe we're leaving summer behind us already!  The fall season holds many activities for all of us.  Kicking off the season for me is the National Garden Clubs Fall Board Meeting being held in St. Louis, MO, September 18th-20th.  I actually have roots in Missouri, as that is where my Father's family all hail from.  I haven't been back in nearly 25 years, so I am anxiously looking forward to this event in many ways!  Also coming up in September, I accepted an invitation to attend the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., Annual Meeting in Lee, NH on September 25th.  It will be a one-day event for me and looks to be a very interesting program with a fairly large attendance expected that will include the National Garden Clubs, Inc. President Gay Austin.  October brings us two very important events:  the Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont, Inc., will be hosting the New England Garden Clubs Annual Meeting in Woodstock, VT, October 28th and 29th and the GCFM Fall Conference is set for October 31st at the Augusta Civic Center.  You'll find additional information on these events and other valuable information in this issue of our newsletter.  Most of you may be aware that Maine will be celebrating its Bicentennial in 2020.  I hope to be presenting an idea for statewide participation in a program that GCFM can launch in 2020 to acknowledge this milestone!  The focus will obviously center around a "planting theme", maybe something in line with NEGC Director Suzanne Bushnell's theme of "Planting the New England Victory Garden", or something in line with sustainability, a nod to the GCFM theme of "Planting Today for America's Tomorrow"!  I think this is a wonderful opportunity to help celebrate Maine and support NGC's theme of "Plant America".  I'd love to find out if your clubs are already planning an event to celebrate the Bicentennial!  As a reminder, if your club has a project to present for a "Plant America" Grant, the deadline to submit an application to the NGC is October 15, 2019.  This is such a fantastic program, up to $1000 is available that can be used directly toward project expenses should your project be selected for a grant!  All the necessary details and qualifications can be found at the NGC website at  We're also reaching the deadline for submitting your new club yearbooks.  If you have not already done so, you can either mail them, bring them to the GCFM Board Meeting on October 7th, or bring them to the Fall Conference on October 31st.  In any event, the deadline to get them in is November 1st!  You'll find more details in our Awards article in this issue of the newsletter.  Happy Harvesting!  Barbara Longstaff


If you haven't sent in your registration yet, you only have a few weeks to get it submitted by October 15th to attend this year's Fall Conference!  Sponsored by the clubs of the Kennebec District, the Conference will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Thursday, October 31st -- Halloween Day (see some of our members below in their Halloween costumes at last year's Conference).  The theme for this year's event is "Bountiful Maine -- East, West, North and South."  Registrations forms are now available by going to the GCFM website at and clicking on the Fall Conference button shown on the HOME PAGE.  You can print off the form and send it in with your check to Conference Registrar Ellen Jackson, 226 Maine Avenue, Farmingdale, ME 04344.  Remember -- all registrations are due no later than October 15th!  Cost to attend is $30.  Non-members can attend for $35.  Late registrations will cost $45.  Headlining the morning session will be Jeff O'Donal, owner of O'Donal's Nursery in Gorham, who'll be presenting a talk on Barth daylilies.  In 2010 O'Donal's obtained the rights to the Barth hybrid daylily line, the longest continual line of hybridized daylilies in the world.  The afternoon session will feature Kevin Leavitt (a.k.a. Farmer Kev) who owns a CSA Farm in West Gardiner.  Kevin grows organic produce on almost 30 acres of land, delivering it to residents, restaurants and farmers markets.  He's a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Economics  His passion and education makes him just the guy to share trends in vegetables and ideas for meatless Mondays.  You can check out his website at Farmer Kev Organics or by clicking this link. We'll also have our traditional buffet lunch, raffle prizes and an array of vendors (we hear a few new ones will be available to purchase from).  If you need exhibit space, please contact Karen Foster by October 15th at


The Registration deadline is fast approaching to attend the 3rd Annual Meeting of the New England Garden Clubs to be held at the historic Woodstock Inn and Resort in Woodstock, Vermont, October 28th and 29th.  The Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont will be the host for this event.  All garden club members from the six New England states are invited to attend this Regional meeting.  The Registration Form with details about the meeting is available by going to the NEGC website at and clicking on the MEETINGS TAB and then Annual Meeting on the drop down menu, or by clicking this link.  The Woodstock Inn and Resort is rated one of the top country inns located in New England.  If you'd like to go but can't afford to stay at the Woodstock Inn, you can contact NEGC Director Suzanne Bushnell for more information about other places to stay by clicking this link(Photo courtesy of the Woodstock Inn and Resort)


An Awards Workshop was held August 19th following the GCFM Board Meeting in Augusta (see photo at left).  A wonderful group of members representing their garden clubs discussed the Awards available through the GCFM, NEGC, and NGC.  Questions about deadlines, electronic applications and the many awards available to the clubs were reviewed.  If you were unable to attend that workshop and have questions, please contact Kathleen Marty by email by clicking this link or by phone at 207-350-6031.  NGC award applications need to be submitted to her by MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2020 with one exception.  Yearbooks need to be submitted by November 1st and can be brought to this year's Fall Conference or sent to Yearbook Chairman Emily Adler at 16 Lord Road, Wiscasset, ME 04578.  You can also send them with someone who's attending the next GCFM Board Meeting on October 7th in Augusta.  Yearbooks are needed by President Barbara Longstaff, Yearbook Chairman Emily Adler, Awards Chairman Kathleen Marty, Club Program Chairman Mary Ericson, and your District Director.  You can also share them with other club presidents in your District.  Yearbooks are judged on a total of 100 points.  A complete list of the format and scale of points used in judging yearbooks is found at the NGC website under the AWARDS tab by clicking this link.  To pull up the pertinent Awards Section you'll need to scroll to Section 12, page 27, dealing with Yearbooks YB-1 (Clubs).  If you have any questions, contact Kathleen at


If you attended our Convention in Wells in June, you know that plans are well underway for the 2020 GCFM Convention in beautiful Bar Harbor.  Gardens at First Light! is the theme and the dates for the event are June 15th through June 17th at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel.  The clubs of the St. Croix District will be our hosts and they've got several of the major highlights already confirmed.  Starting off the Convention the evening of June 15th will be a gala reception for National and State Life Members at Garland Farm, home of the Beatrix Farrand Society.  The keynote speaker is already booked -- Roger Swain, former PBS host of The Victory Garden and Science Editor at Horticulture Magazine.  The Annual Meeting Luncheon speaker will be well known Maine landscape architect Bruce Riddell.  The ever-popular garden tour is also on tap.  The District also tells us there will be a variety of vendors available so make plans now to attend!  More details will be featured in our upcoming GCFM newsletters, including details about making hotel reservations.


Judges Council Design Session #6 classes are continuing this fall.  Each class is held monthly on the first Wednesday of the month in the Guild Hall at St. Mary's Church, 43 Foreside Road, Falmouth.  The October 2nd class will have attendees making a creative design using all dried material.  The November 6th class will focus on a design using fruits and vegetables accented with plant material.  And the final class of 2019 on December 4th will be a design evoking one of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Classes are $10 each unless you've already signed up for the entire series.  For more information contact Marilyn Traiser by clicking this link.  To find the Registration Form, go to the HOME PAGE of our website and click on the "Register" link on the floral design photo.


In an effort to get more members interested in taking advantage of educational opportunities, the New England Garden Clubs' website now has a new tab which highlights all the NGC schools offered in the six New England States.  Current schools offered are Flower Show School, Landscape Design School, and Gardening School.  Maine Judges Council is offering a $250 scholarship if you're interested in attending Flower Show School.  Contact Marilyn Traiser by clicking this link for more information.  Because of their membership size, Massachusetts and Connecticut tend to be the two states who sponsor the schools.  Maine was able to sponsor a Landscape Design School in the past but has no schools scheduled at the present time.  Massachusetts hopes to get an Environmental School scheduled in the near future.  If you're interested in checking out the scheduled schools, click this link to the New England Garden Clubs NGC SCHOOLS TAB.


Thanks to members from three clubs -- Harpswell, Scarborough, and Boothbay Region -- for sending in donation forms in support of the region-wide project, fighting food insecurity.  Donations from these three clubs of excess vegetables, herbs and flowers to local food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations who fight hunger now total more than 2000 POUNDS!!  With her theme of "Planting the New England Victory Garden,"  Region Director Suzanne Bushnell is encouraging all of us to plant extra vegetables this growing season which is fast coming to an end.  The project runs for the two years of her term as Director.  She has developed a reporting form that you can use to record your donation.  The form, which can be found on the New England Garden Clubs' website, by clicking on the REGION PROJECT tab, is easy to fill out and can be submitted at any time during the growing season by sending it to Suzanne at the address at the bottom of the form.   If your club volunteers at a community garden where produce or flowers are donated, let Suzanne know as she'd like to publicize this important volunteer activity.   If you have any questions, contact Suzanne by clicking this link.


Has your club thought about applying for a Plant America grant?  Maybe your club applied in the past but was not a winner.  Well, you can still apply but the deadline is approaching to get your applications in -- October 15th.  Besides applying for a grant that deals with community beautification, you can also use the money for other projects such as Blue Star Marker landscaping, school gardens, Habitat for Humanity landscaping or even a community educational event.  For those clubs that are successful in winning a grant, a final report on the project is one of the requirements.  To learn more about the application guidelines and to find an application form, click this link.


If you were to look up the definition of "nurture" you'd find it means "to care for and encourage the growth or development of someone or something."  This year we've found a couple members who decided to nurture Mother Nature by helping the endangered Monarch butterfly.  Jackie Pellerin of the Harpswell Garden Club has been raising Monarch butterflies for more than 40 years!  She was motivated to start when her children would come home from school and talk about the nuns getting them involved with science projects.  Back in the day before the advent of zippered mesh bags (see Jackie above with hers), she would use whatever was handy as the breeding container.  Then she'd take the kids to hunt for baby caterpillars on milkweed near her home, place them in the container with plenty of milkweed to feed on, and then cover the top with a cloth diaper!  The caterpillars would weave a chrysalis -- hanging from the diaper --  and then emerge to become a Monarch butterfly.  Now more than 40 years later Jackie is teaching her grandchildren the miracle of birth.  At one time this summer Jackie tells us she had at least a dozen Monarchs hanging at one time from her "bug box."  We also heard from Linda Redman of the Boothbay Region Garden Club.  She told us she was having a "banner year" with the number of Monarchs flying around her gardens.  Linda's story was she'd tried to spread milkweed around her pond in previous years without a lot of success.  She also tried to spread it in an open area on a hillside.  But instead, the milkweed began to appear in places she didn't want it -- in her perennial gardens.   But this spring she decided to let the milkweed develop where it wanted.  While last year she saw only one Monarch, this year she said she's overwhelmed with the number she's seen (see the chyrsalis attached to a rock)!  Interested in learning more about how you can raise Monarch butterflies?  Just do an internet search using the words "raising Monarch butterflies" and you'll find dozens of You Tube videos on the topic!


In past years we've told you of members' gardens appearing in local magazines.  Well, now we can add two more -- Harriet Robinson and Peter Young of the Foothills Garden Club!  Both of their gardens appeared in consecutive months in Down East Magazine.   In the article entitled "Everyone Out of the Pool!" in the July issue, Harriet talks about her gardens in Otisfield.  She mentions that her former swimming pool wasn't getting a lot of use by her children and was costing money for electricity to run the pump and chemicals to clean the pool.  So when it came time to replace the liner, Harriet came up with a different idea.  She decided to fill the pool with soil and create a formal knot garden.  But instead of using boxwood hedges to frame the garden, she relied on the concrete deck and cobblestone paths to form the outline of the Celtic knot pattern.  She now has a very mature garden where things are in bloom from May through November (see her garden above).  A visit to her garden, depending on the season, would find numerous plants in bloom such as peonies taken from her parent's garden, daylilies, and historic irises among many others.  For Peter Young, the plants that have stolen his heart are hostas.  His gardens, located on his farm in Buckfield, were featured in the August issue of Down EastWith the article entitled "Endless Hosta-bilities", you know the featured plant would be hostas (see them at right).  Peter doesn't believe in planting them in a straight line as many others do, but instead, he has them swirling around his house.  You can find them at the feet of his maple and box elder trees, and along his stone wall.  The hostas are in all sizes and colors with some sporting fragrant flowers.  Besides hostas, there are 200 plus varieties of iris that his mother planted when he was a boy and that still bloom each spring.  Peter is a retired dairy farmer and lives in the home he grew up in which dates back to 1782.


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  We've asked Elizabeth Richter, our GCFM Visiting Gardens Chairman and a member of the Scarborough Garden Club, to write abut public gardens you can still visit this Fall.)  There are many types of gardens and visiting them brings joy and a sense of bonding with nature.  Some are larger covering many acres and others are small and tucked into a little space.  Some are elaborate and others humble by contrast but they all make us feel closer to nature.  There are many gardens in our towns we forget to see because they've always been there.  I hope to share some of these local gardens and would like to hear about local spots of beauty that others can share.  I've decided to start in the southern part of our beautiful state in York County.  The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a unique seaside garden with breathtaking views of sky and ocean as well as displays of perennials, ornamental shrubs and trees.  There's also an ever-changing display of sculpture in the garden (see photo, courtesy of the Museum, of some of the sculpture).   The Museum is filled with American art and many of the artists have ties to Maine.  If you aren't a museum goer you can still visit the garden by going around the side of the building.  The Hamilton House and grounds in South Berwick is a historical landmark with elaborate perennial beds.  St. Anthony Franciscan Friary in Kennebunk is a peaceful retreat minutes from the hustle and bustle of Dock Square offering a tranquil setting of stone Tudor style buildings and an English Park with beautiful gardens.  The last recommendation is a commercial nursery, Black Rock Farm, located in Goose Rocks.  The farm supplies many heirloom vegetables for area restaurants.  It's planted in the French intensive style and visitors are welcome to learn about this different style of farming which is popular in Europe.  They also have beautiful displays of nursery stock to purchase.  Our summer season will soon be over so I hope you might have a chance to visit a garden before the first flakes fly!


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is an excerpt of a longer article written by Linda Uberseder of the Bar Harbor Garden Club about this year's Bar Harbor Garden Tour which attracted 425 visitors.)  July 20th dawned hot and sunny, a relief to the members of the Bar Harbor Garden Club who'd spent many months preparing for its 2019 Garden Club Tour.  By 7:30 a.m. directional signs were in place and tents were going up at the Northeast Harbor Marina where both the tour headquarters and the vendors were getting ready for the day.  Six beautiful and varied gardens were on the tour on both sides of Mount Desert Island.  Each garden was unique.  The Seawall Garden in Manset was a tiny pocket garden which gave visitors wonderful ideas on how to garden in a small space.  Traveling to Fernald Point in Southwest Harbor, visitors were ferried to the Bunchberry Moat Garden designed by landscape architect Bruce John Riddell.  The house sits among beautiful rock formations, including a waterfall, rock bridges and rock benches; and it is indeed surrounded by a moat.  Just down the way is the Cove Garden overlooking spectacular Connor Cove.  A long border of annuals and perennials fronts the house, which was originally the carriage house for an estate further on.  It also featured several amazing Luniform pots and even a Luniform lily pond.  Visitors then made the excursion around Somes Sound to the Northeast Harbor side of the island.  On Indian Head Lane, they had the opportunity to view a large estate garden which has been lovingly planned out and planted by the owner and a team of landscapers.  The owner has designed her garden to accommodate several types of habitats, including meadow land, woodlands and shoreline. Two more gardens in Northeast Harbor are historic island gardens originally designed by Charles Savage and renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand.  One of the gardens was at the Asticou Inn, where Charles Savages, mother Mabel, starting in 1901, planted a cutting garden behind the Inn to supply flowers for the lobby and rooms overlooking Northeast Harbor.  Across the street was the Clover Cottage Garden.  It was originally planned and planted by Charles Savage to ornament the outside of his home.  In doing so he used some plantings taken directly from Beatrix Farrand's own Reef Point estate.  The current owners have lovingly stayed true to the original garden design.


Sometimes we're asked:  "How does the GCFM support its clubs?"  Today we'd like to show you one way -- by publicizing your club!  Because of limited finances, many clubs are unable to afford their own website.  So, when the website was being developed before it went live in 2015, the GCFM Website Committee decided it would be a benefit to ALL clubs if a page were devoted to each club.  If you go to the CLUBS TAB by clicking this link, you'll see every District in the GCFM and every club in that District listed under them.  Each club has a link to its own Club Page IF the club has taken the time to provide the valuable information needed about the club.  What type of information should you be providing?  In order for the public to know there's a club in your town or vicinity, you need to provide a contact person's name with an email and/or a phone number where the public can find more information.  If your club has a website, the address should be given as well.  And many clubs list their entire Program Schedule for the upcoming year along with the time, date, and place for the meeting.  Some even provide a photo for their page.  Your Club Page Administrator should be checking your page on a regular basis to make sure all information is UP TO DATE!  As a way for helping to pay for all the costs of maintaining the GCFM's website, a fee of $25 to be paid annually by all clubs and districts was voted on and approved a few years ago.  We hope you can see this is a small price to pay to advertise your club!  If you need help with your Club Page, contact Fran Moore by clicking this link.  If you have questions about the website, contact either Kathleen Marty or Suzanne Bushnell by clicking their links.


As GCFM President Barbara Longstaff mentioned, Maine will be celebrating its Bicentennial in 2020.  Governor Janet Mills kicked off the yearlong celebration in July and is encouraging citizens and organizations to get in the spirit of Maine's 200th birthday!  If you're thinking about planning an event, we'd like to hear from you so we can advertise it in the newsletter and put it on the website CALENDAR.  The State of Maine is even willing to help you finance an event by offering $375,000 in grant money!  Non-profits such as garden clubs are eligible to apply.  For more information, go to the Bicentennial website at Maine 200 or click this link.


Sept. 18-20
NGC Fall Board Meeting, St. Louis, MO
Oct. 2
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI:  Marilyn Traiser
Oct. 7 
GCFM Board Meeting, Viles Home, 71 Stone St., Augusta
Oct. 28-29  
NEGC Annual Meeting, Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock, VT 
Oct. 31
GCFM Fall Conference, Augusta Civic Center, Augusta 
Nov. 6
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI:  Marilyn Traiser 
Dec. 4
Floral Design Class, St. Mary's Church, Falmouth  FMI:  Marilyn Traiser 


Barbara Longstaff

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