Author Archives: janbroome

Scholarship Award

July 2015:  The Norwalk Garden Club has awarded Amanda Turner, from Norwalk High School, a $1,000.00 scholarship.  Amanda will be a freshman attending Delaware University and will be majoring in Environmental Science/Botany.   2015Scholarship

Pictured from left:  Janet Valus (Scholarship Committee); Amanda Turner; Mrs. Turner; and Jan Broome, President. Not pictured is Barbara Thompson (Scholarship Committee).

Recent Events!

Twombly_2015BettyU<<<  June 19th visit to Twombly Nursery in Monroe, CT for our  year-end meeting and tour of beautiful grounds and excellent selection of plants!

Below: Norwalk Public Library plantings NorPubLib2015






[Click on photos to enlarge]

Colonial Herb Garden gets planted at Mill Hill Historic Park (East Wall Street, Norwalk CT)Millhill2015plntg








[Click on photos to enlarge]


Annual Plant Sale – held Saturday June 6 in the parking lot of the Human Resource building at the corner of East Wall and Park Streets.  Had a terrific selection of backyard divisions and herb plantings to pick from! 

Plantsale 2015crowdPlantsale 2015betsy_paula






Plantsale 2015jmiller







Lockwood Matthews Planters – June 2015

lockwood2015 planter

lockwood2015 1lockwood2015 jan_rolockwood2015 2

2015 – Caring for Orchids!

J & L Orchids of Easton CT, made a presentation entitled “Maintaining Orchids in the Home” at the January meeting of the Norwalk Garden Club. Some of the tips for caring for orchids were:

1. The best window for orchid care is the East, secondly the Southern. The orchid itself will determine what need it has for sun or shade. Read instructions on plant pot

2. Overwatering kills most orchids. Usually once a week is sufficient unless plant needs to be in very sunny Southern location. Feel the moisture content in the pot to test.

3. Many people place an ice cube in the pot and it seems to work. The J & L expert did not encourage this practice since orchids are tropical in nature. Better: tepid water.

4. Fertilize the orchid plant every two weeks, usually with 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. Most blooms last from six to eight weeks with Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis the most popular grown for their beautiful blooms and re-blooming possibilities.

5. For questions or more information, visit, or email

December 2014 and new members

Joy to the world! We wish all our fellow gardeners and The Hour readers the happiest of holidays

Decorated wreaths for Christmas fair 2014

Decorated wreaths for Christmas fair 2014

and a healthy New Year! This season our Norwalk Garden Club members are overjoyed to realize that so many lovely women have joined us in 2014. All of us are aware that the continuum of our service only progesses if new members sustain and renew the garden club. Looking back in this our 90th year, this progression has given increased knowledge of gardening, community service and friendships to literally hundreds of women since 1924. We are so appreciative for these new members of 2014 who will carry our mission of beautification, education, civic planting and socialization forward. Their infusion of new ideas and the perception of these new people has enlivened and strengthened us. So today we would like to introduce those who will carry our mission forward into our 100th year in 2024! They are: Senya Golovchenko, Tanya Nagyhetenyi , Gail Candlin, Diane Russell, Silvia Price, Betty Downing, Jacqueline Heinrich, Betty Green, Annette Maeberger, Lucie Sasaki-Scanlon, and Esther Stefanidis.

Hooray for Our Craft Fair – On Dec. 6, our Annual Holiday Fair was held at Cranbury Chapel in Norwalk. What a success! The wreaths, the cookies, the gifts, the floral arrangements, the doll clothes, the new pressed flower stationery, the raffle gift baskets, everything handmade or homemade was positively gobbled up to our financial and personal delight. Thanks abound to so many who supported us, to those who baked, to those who crafted, and to those who florally arranged. Late that afternoon, we were even honored to be able to publicly thank Chris Bosak, co-managing editor of The Hour, for allowing us to tell you about our garden club during this, our 90 year, in column after column of this truly Norwalk hometown newspaper. So many kind people told us how much they enjoyed hearing about garden hints, techniques, and club events. Chris was also given a gift of a book on birding, no surprise there given his excellent The Hour column on Birdwatching every Thursday. We also added a DVD about the birth and ultimate flight of baby hummingbirds for Chris’s two young sons, Andrew (11) and Will (8).

More thanks – Since we’re handing out appreciation, we must include Jerry Grimaldi, a neighbor who blesses us every spring with the geraniums he grows for the Planting on the Green! In the winter, the First Water District Chief, Frank Chieffalo, brings a budget to the District Board that includes the cost of the beautiful Green Planting. They grant the funds to go ahead. Then Norwalk citizen Grimaldi then drives up to Massachusetts where he picks up cuttings in March, growing them in his personal greenhouse here until May. On the appointed day, Frank and the First District Staff swing into action, digging up, softening the soil and mulching around the Gazebo, the Flagpole, and the Cannon. Then, all the colorful geraniums are transported by Jerry to the ladies of the Norwalk Garden Club at the Green. Within three hours, our eager gardeners plant hundreds and hundreds of these glorious flowers along with many ageratums to complete the patriotic theme of red, white and blue.  Following that effort, members move to the Gazebo for a rest and a meeting. So if you wander by The Green on a May morning and see a group of sweaty, disheveled women chomping on donuts, up high in the gazebo, now you know who and what they are. Thanks to all!

Special notice as well – Nobody works alone. But some of our women really give beyond the call of duty. Of course, we are led with grace by President Jan Broome and the Executive Board. Craft Chair Gaye Seymour leads groups of talented and artistic members for months and months to create the hundreds of articles sold at the Fair. Another standout must be Craft Fair Chair Marian Ainsworth, whose unselfishness through the years is truly exemplary. She guides others through all of the necessary steps to schedule, secure, fill, and implement the success of each Fair. Baked Goods Chairs Gail Stevens and Barbara Thompson take the delicious output from all our members and Sally Damato’s cookie decorating group into the decorated tissue boxes which house dozens of cookies. Breads and Cakes are offered, too.  Marian Ainsworth, Jan Broome, and Paula Golob (1st VP) make 30 arrangements for cemetery boxes. Betsy Kondub and Jeanne Brown plant several of the urns at East Norwalk Historic Cemetery, too. Basket Co-Chairs Mary Gerloff and Laura Fanzilli (1st VP) work throughout the year collecting gifts from generous local donors like Pepperidge Farms and Stew’s for the outstanding raffle baskets, which Gaye then fills artistically. At last, with the help of other members, we conduct the raffle, which is perhaps the only thing that reflects my limited talent. (I’m good at cleaning up as well.) See, something for everyone to do.

Mill Hill Historic Site –  On your next visit to Mill Hill, watch for our engraved 90th Anniversary bench along with our three donated dogwood trees and several flowering bushes which are our gifts to a wonderful historic monument in Norwalk. Thanks to our club members for voting for this fitting garden club memorial. Thanks, too, for the cooperation of Norwalk Historic Commission’s David Westmoreland and Mill Hill Townhouse Executive Director Diane Jellerette. See what they’ve achieved at the site next springtime. Expect to be awed!

Farewell.  I have so enjoyed sharing with you the pleasure and the affection I have had for the Norwalk Garden Club. Thank you for your kind comments. Come on up on the second Wednesday of any month to the Gallaher Mansion at Cranbury Park. We’d love to meet you!

P.S. Yes, those are my poems.

Joanne Hughes is a member of the Norwalk Garden Club. The Club is a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc. and Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. This column will appear periodically in The Hour this year as the club celebrates its 90th year

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!


Upcoming Events: Celebrating 90 Years!

Norwalk Tree Alliance – May 17th,  Garden Club Plant Sale – May 31st

Enjoy reading about our May 1937 events (including a plant sale), along with info on unusual perennials that were hot topics for discussion at that time! Please click on the article. NGC MAY 1937

 AND we’re in the news again! Read the articles that have been featured in the Norwalk Hour this year in the ABOUT section (Menu bar) under “In the News!”

Christmas Fair 2013!

2013 Wreath prep

Christmas Fair goodies!

Christmas Fair goodies!

What a success! We held our annual Christmas Fair 2013 on December 7 at the Cranbury Chapel from 9:30 to 3:30. There was a wonderful assortment of handmade crafts, wreaths, baked goods, baskets, and other holiday items! Save the date for next year:  December 6, 2014!  Location: Cranbury Chapel, 2 Frank Street, Norwalk (corner of Newtown Ave. & Frank St. – parking available behind Cranbury Market)

Federated Garden Club projects


Jacqueline Connell, President of Federated Garden Clubs of CT, has a new challenge for us to Bee Kind to Pollinators, Plant Natives, and Create Backyard Habitats. As Jacqueline puts it:

“Our pollinators need your help! Over the next two years we want to raise the consciousness of our members about the plight of pollinators of all types and what we as gardeners can do to help them. We want to encourage members to plant natives to attract pollinators and design landscapes to nurture them. We call on all CT Clubs to further these goals by sponsoring club programs and projects to promote pollinators, natives and habitats. For more information, please click here.”  Our club member Gail S. created a certified backyard habitat several years ago, and maintains it beautifully! (photo from Gail’s garden above- click on photo to enlarge)