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