Monthly Archives: August 2014

Here’s looking at you, Norwalk Garden Club!

Joanne Hughes makes cookies for the Fair!Thanks to our own Joanne Hughes and to the Norwalk Hour for articles that are appearing monthly   in honor of our 90-year civic stewardship to Norwalk!  Please see About / In the News for posted articles!    Joanne is shown here making cookies for our 2013 Christmas Fair.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 6, 2014 – this year’s date for the annual fair.  Our crafters have been working throughout the year in preparation for this wonderful event!

Below is our latest article in the Norwalk Hour written by Joanne.

Norwalk Garden Club Continues Support of Mill Hill   by Joanne Hughes,  

Posted in the Norwalk Hour  –   September 26, 2014

Looking back, it is apparent that our Norwalk Garden Club has been involved with or committed to the site at Mill Hill Historic Park for years and years.  The obvious importance of the property is that it is so dedicated to its historical heritage. This has intrigued early members of our club as well as today’s members. In our archives, going back to 1924, many photos have been found showing our cooperation in the improvement of this lovely setting and its architecture. In the accompanying Norwalk Garden Club continues support of Mill Hillphoto we see NGC members in 1974 planting crocus on the front lawn of the Townhouse. Don’t those women look current and fashionable even now? If you know anyone in this picture, contact our website at; leave their name and yours. We’ll include it next column.

Mill Hill has just been chosen as the site of our 90th Anniversary Memorial Grant. The membership voted at the meeting in May to fund an engraved bench and platform showing the 90th designation and the club name. An appropriate place for the bench will be found, while adding our desired three dogwood trees and a variety of ornamental bushes as part of the grant. Our NGC committee members, who have volunteered to establish a Colonial Herb Garden there, hope that the bench will be near that garden. Given the impetus of the Norwalk Historical Commission and Society, this all comes together as the architects, engineers, and landscape designers work to render the site ADA accessible for those who need help in enjoying the grounds and buildings. Parking will be improved, too. Diane Jellerette, Mill Hill Historical Society executive director, started the cooperative effort with our club last year. What a pleasure she is to work with as is David Westmoreland and Erik Anderson.

Jazzing Up Our Gardens

How, you ask? “By Color, Sound and Movement!” So said our excellent speaker in September at the first meeting of our new year. And then she proved it. Karen Bussolini, author, photographer, and garden coach, spoke to us at our meeting place, the Gallaher Mansion at Cranbury Park. And did she give us a show! Her beautiful hand gestures were enough to please us and capture our attention, but her knowledge of plants and techniques to spice up our gardens was just spectacular at the same time.  Bussolini told the audience of 35 members and guests that “Your garden should reflect your own personal taste.” She said: “Use repeat plants, self-sowing varieties, or colors that are alike, e.g., orange in a pot, a red tree, a yellow bush.” She gave us so many great alternatives. Her beautiful photos included: the All-Silver Plants at Farmingdale University; the garden that takes its colors from a Martha Yazzie Navajo Rug; the incredible Tulip Gardens at the New York Botanical Garden each spring; the Bellamy-Ferraday House and Garden in Connecticut that features old roses.  She asked us to become aware of the background for flowers, knowing some will “only look good in front of a snowbank” while others need “deep green behind them to make the yellow shine,” she says. Some basic plants that backstop others are lamb’s ear, the money plant with its shimmery and silvery leaves, and various ornamental grasses. Now, I have to interject my personal bias about grasses.

In my former garden club, I chaired a committee of six women who had responsibility for three sign gardens at the entrances to the Town. Even though I had researched the grasses chosen by the group for their sedge characteristics (whether they would spread too much) and had been reassured by the nurseryman that they were safe, in one year they overtook most of the flowers. We had to pull them up and out. So be careful with your grasses.  In summary, Bussolini explained that gardens not only give pleasure to our floral taste but they also create mood, demonstrate movement, and excite the imagination with the vast number of varieties. Her presentation gave us so much food for thought immediately and for future gardens we might create. We look forward to one day visiting Karen Bussolini’s own Garden in South Kent, which will show us all of her recommendations in full bloom. Her website is Her closing words to us were: “Hey, it’s supposed to be fun!” She made it so!

Suggestions & Events

First, thanks to President Jan Broome and all NGC members who worked the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion annual Flea Market last Sunday. Jackie Albert’s tent for our club made quite a hit as did the NGC donations for the cause. Second, our Adopt-a-Spot Chair, Gail Stevens, told us about two new approaches used this year that had made the committee’s work much easier: the use of xeriscape plants like Golden Barberry reduced watering and a fish fertilizer (emulsion) improved growth and hardiness.  Laura Fanzilli, our “Greens” Chair, remarked that the geraniums at the Gazebo, the Flagpole, and the Cannon were extraordinary this summer. This was due to nature, fertilizer, and the generous deadheading, watering, and weeding of our hard-working large committee of NGC volunteers who labored from May to early September.  I didn’t do it this year. My dear friend, Marian Ainsworth, who always volunteers for just about everything, gently told me how I should be deadheading the flowers. When I remonstrated that I had arthritis and couldn’t reach down to pull the stalks at the bases, the other ladies in the group and Marian forgave me future duties. We all care for each other, especially Marian.

On Oct. 8, NGC will have our Pot Luck Luncheon. While it’s members-only, the November meeting that follows on Wednesday, the 12th will be wonderful for us and any guest who can come to the Gallaher Mansion. More about that in next month’s column. Lastly, we met last week at Gaye Seymour’s home and continued the year-long work on crafts for our upcoming December 6 Annual Christmas Fair at the Cranbury Chapel. Do plan to stop by then to see the hand-made and homemade crafts, cookies, and wreaths. It’s a holiday joy of celebration!