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May, 2024 Newsletter

Volunteers Making New Canaan Beautiful

Dear Members and Friends,

There are some great events this month. On May 10th, we will dedicate the new plantings and plaza at the railroad station and on May 19, Lee Garden will have its annual Members' Day beginning at 1 p.m.

The town has installed a number of planters along Elm Street around the bump-outs for the restaurants. NCBL will plant town-bought plants (to match the hanging baskets) in new planters to give the town a unified look. This will be done on May 8. The baskets are targeted to arrive May 21.

Of note, the nominating committee has been hard at work finding volunteers to fill a number of positions beginning July 1, 2024. You can find the slate listed below and during the month of May, you will receive an email with a link asking you to vote on the slate.

Finally, this wonderful 80+ year old organization runs on volunteerism. Our dedicated board does a tremendous amount of work 'behind the scenes', our active gardeners keep the town spaces looking great and when we all pull together, we end up with this incredible group. THANK YOU ALL for your time and talents. We simply would not exist without you.


Robin Bates-Mason & Jill Ernst


June Program

Annual Meeting

Good Bug or Bad Bug

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

New Canaan Nature Center

9:30 - 11:30 am

We will welcome horticulturist and NYBG instructor, Mark Kokinchak who will speak to us about identification and management of insects in our gardens. During his talk, “Pesty Gardens! Learn How to Quickly Identify Insects in Your Garden and How to Control Them”, we will pick up some new techniques to protect our favorite plants and also gain an increased appreciation for the bugs that are trying to help us out.

Railroad Station

2023/4 Renovation of New Canaan Train Station

The Beautification League originally designed and planted the train station the first time in 1999. In 2002, the 9/11 memorial flagpole was added. 

The idea to renovate this time, was originally planned to mark NCBL’s 80thanniversary in 2019, but due to Covid, was delayed.  Various elements had to be taken into consideration to coordinate this project: lighting, the removal of invasive plants, stone work, new sidewalks & fencing and new irrigation.  As a result, there are many entities to thank for helping us pull it all together. 

Tiger Mann, Mose Saccary and the town’s DPW were instrumental in digging out invasives and old plants and bringing in new soil.  Peter Lanni and his crew laid the new plaza, steps and sidewalk. Vinnie's Ironworks created the plaza and stair fencing. Gannon Fence put in the fence along the sidewalk.  Landscape designer Ty Tan, and landscape architect Barbara Wilson, both NCBL members, designed different aspects of the project. Barbara did the hardscape including the sidewalk, plaza, and steps, while Ty was responsible for the plant design, selection and planting. On one of the rainiest October days, we planted the area with member volunteers and the DPW.

The new roomier plaza is much more welcoming and perfect for visitors to wait for their trains.  There are now 4 new benches, 2 of which are dedicated to longtime member and fundraiser 'par excellence', Wally Meyer.  The other 2 benches are in celebration and commemoration of our project’s completion of the station.

Thank you to all who helped with the project.

New Canaan Train Station c. 1999

New Canaan Train Station terrace as it looks today.

Hands Needed!

May 3 at 9:30

Train Station

We will need many hands to help plant the last delivery of plants at the Train Station

to complete our project and get ready for its dedication.

Please join us.

Train Station Dedication Invitation

Train Station dedication

Special Traveling Trowels Project

The Town has asked NCBL to plant the 13 new town-bought planters along Elm Street with flowers that will go nicely with the hanging baskets. In order to have them ready for Mothers' Day, we will meet in front of the movie theatre at 9:30 on Wednesday, May 8 to get the job done. Bring a friend!

Wed. May 8, 9:30-11.

meet in front of Movie Theater.  

Bring trowels & gloves.

Colorblends' tulips on God's Acre

Memorial Day Parade

Join us at the Memorial Day Parade!

Each year, members of New Canaan Beautification League march in our town’s Memorial Day Parade, and it’s a true joy to represent our organization at this heartwarming and patriotic event. Marchers wear their safety-chic, neon yellow NCBL shirts, light-colored pants and carry a rake decorated with flowers. The parade travels from St. Mark’s to Lakeview Cemetery. 

Date:  Monday, May 27th, 2024

Time: Meet at 9:00 AM, parade begins at 9:30

Place: St. Mark’s Church parking lot, 111 Oenoke Ridge Rd. 

If you’d like to participate, please sign up by clicking the button below: 

Note: We do not plan to decorate a vehicle this year, although if you have a pickup truck you’re willing to drive for the occasion, please let Laura Ault know. 

Sign Up to March on Memorial Day!

Member Garden Visits

On June 13th we will visit 4 gardens, each is as unique as their owners.  All are a labor of love as well as a work in progress. One of the gardens is  a modern interpretation sure to delight all the senses. Three of the gardens are on one street which underscores our need for people to carpool.

Four members have agreed to open their gardens July 10th. Again the gardens are diverse and delightful.  Prepare to be amazed! The season will wrap-up with four more gardens opening to us August 7th.

Please register for the visits soon as spaces are limited to 35 and fill up fast.  Directions and descriptions of each garden will be sent the day before the Informal Garden Visit and we will persist rain or shine.  

We hope some of you will volunteer to be Greeters as it is a great way to see everyone and enjoy the gardens too.  There is a link to sign up below.

Please let Nancy Malling know if you would be willing to have your garden on the 'tour'.

Click on the green button below to register to visit:

Garden Visits: April & May

The gardens will be open from 9:30 am to noon for 35 registered NCBL members.

If the dates are full, contact Lois Himes to be added to the waitlist:

203 451 2355 or

Directions to the gardens will be sent to the registrants the day before the event. The Garden Visits will be held rain or shine!

Greeters Needed for June, July & August!


Use the blue button below to sign up as a greeter. Please contact Pam Yee if you have any questions:

Be a Greeter

Thank you Kathy Kwiatkowski and Valerie Monaghan for opening your beautiful gardens to us. They were delightful, despite the poor weather.

Land Trust property toured at the last Member Garden Day

Lee Garden Members' Day

Sunday, May 19

1:00 - 4:00

Olive and George Lee Memorial Garden

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to see the breathtaking display of azaleas and rhododendrons at their peak spring bloom. Our garden volunteers will be available for questions. This is a day for members to celebrate our treasured garden. George Lee left his garden to us in 1978 and we have cared for it ever since, staying true to his wishes to share the garden with like-minded people. Refreshments will be served.

Lee Members' Day

Waveny Flower Arranging

Flower Arranging at Waveny Care Center Sign Ups Available

June, September, October, and December

Once again, NCBL members will arrange flowers at Waveny Care Center during the months of June, September, October, and December. Generally, the volunteers source flowers from their gardens or from grocery stores (e.g. Stop and Shop or Trader Joe's) on Sunday and make the arrangements between 9:00 and 11:00 am Monday in the flower room at Waveny Care Center. Volunteers check on the arrangements on or around Thursday morning, to refresh the water and remove any spent blooms.

Any flower purchases are reimbursable, so save your receipts.

Sign up with a friend or just add your name to our sign up below. Questions should be directed to Amy Reid: or

Amy Sorensen:

Waveny Flower Arranging Sign Up

Dig and Divide

Dig and Divide – 2024

Do you have excess plants? Are you dividing favorites or voracious growers? Have you had too much success growing from seed or taking cuttings? Perhaps you would like to re-arrange your gardens. If so, this is your opportunity to find new homes for your plants and for members to benefit from your donations.

How to offer your plants

Members wishing to offer plants should email the below information to Camilla Austin: 

Please copy and paste the following into your email and fill in the information. Head the email "Dig and Divide".

Member's Name:


Contact number:

Email address:

Plant Name:

Number available:

Growing condition: (sun, partial sun, shade etc)

Flowering month and color:

How to claim plants offered:

·      Make contact with the member offering plants 

·      Arrange a date and time to collect the plants

·      Check if the plants are in pots or need to be dug out

·      Take any tools/pots to transport the plants

·      Be ready to replant and water your new plants

·      Email Camilla who will mark the plant as taken on the offerings sheet

General Guidelines/Spirit

·      Dig and Divide is for New Canaan Beautification League members only.

·      Make direct contact with the member who has a plant you would like to take.

·      Plants offered should be pest free and healthy. Plants taken and given at member's discretion.

·      Members should be home and present when plants are taken, (no sending of landscapers). This ensures the correct plants are taken and there is no damage to the members' gardens.

·      There will be no monetary payments for plants given or taken.

·      Please do not offer diseased plants or those in soil with jumping worms.

Civic Beautification

If you would like to sign up for emails to come and help with our Traveling Trowels, contact Faith: We discuss plants, tools, and our yards all while spiffing up the town.

The driveway wall into Town Hall is largely maintained by Liz Orteig. Thank you, Liz.

The Town Hall Planters this spring.

Lee Garden

The first weekend in May saw the SLOBs at Lee garden loading and spreading chips on the paths. A HUGE thank you to them! Thank you to members Julieanne Webb, Betsy Sammarco, Kathy Kwiatkowski, and Faith Kerchoff, for directing the boys and helping to spread the chips along with them.

L-R: Alex Besaw; Matt Riley; Faith Kerchoff; Juliane Webb; Brandon Ma; Henry Choi; Stone Milligan. Not pictured: Apurv Sahay; Lucas Williams; Jackson Reiss; Matthew Raymond; Stephanie and Kathy Kwiatkowski; and finally neighbors, Max & Joey Scherr.

Not to be missed and blooming now!

There is a lot more to Lee than rhododendrons and azaleas. Our volunteers are constantly adding new surprises.

Wood anemone


Blue Eyed Mary

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Ty Tan recently ran a pruning workshop for 13 Bartlett Master Gardeners. The Bartlett Master Gardeners program uses Lee Garden as a teaching garden.


The triangle at the intersection of White Oak Shade & Nursery Road as well as the one at Country Club and Rte. 123 have been adopted by new members, Karin Weller & Sarah Armour. Thank you so much!

This triangle is all spruced up for Spring.

Membership Dues

NCBL Membership Dues are due by June 1

If you joined the League after January 1, 2024, you do not need to pay.

Renew your membership easily online by clicking the button below!

Membership Renewal

If you'd rather renew by mail, download the membership form below and send with your check to: 

NCBL Membership

P.O. Box 1244

New Canaan, CT 06840

Membership Form for Mailing

Executive Board Slate for 2024-5

NCBL Proposed 2024/2025 Board Slate


President: Nancy Malling

Vice President: Claude Colabella

Recording co-Secretaries: Nancy Jordan, Robin Miner

Treasurer: Dave Hunt

Vice President, Civic Beautification: Faith Kerchoff


Traveling Trowels: Faith Kerchoff

Triangles: Greg Brown, Sarina Vetterli, Claude Colabella

Lee Garden: Faith Kerchoff, Lois Himes, Kathy Kwiatkowski

Hanging Baskets: Karen Christie, Suzy Spatz

Waveny Care Center: Amy Sorenson, Amy Weber-Reid

Holiday Greens: Wendy Fogg, Kathy Kwiatkowski


Programs: Christina Fagerstal, Angela Materna

Zoom Programs Host: Patricia Spugani

Garden Visits: Pam Yee, Lally Jurcik


Membership: Sara Hunt

Member Outreach Chair: Jill Ernst

Development: Mary Ann Henry, Kathleen Murphy

Annual Appeal Treasurer: Karen Hanson

Donor Relations: Karen Ferguson, Lisa Ferrante


Webmaster: Lisa Ferrante

Marketing & Events: Laura Ault

Publicity: Rebecca Harris

Newsletter: Jera Flood, Kathy Megrue Smith

Photography: Nora Fay, Barbara O'Shea

Nominating: Betsy Sammarco, Jill Ernst

New Board members will begin their terms on July 1, 2024.

Committee members will be listed in June's newsletter.


Victorian Tea in Review

Nell Smith received an Honorary Membership Award at the Victorian Tea.

At a spry age of 92, Nell Smith was given an Honorary award in recognition of her years volunteering for NCBL. This award applauds her efforts, which include taking care of the Huckleberry Hill/Valley Road triangle for over 30 years, and helping with fundraisers. Thank you Nell!

Anatomy of the Victorian Tea Flower Arrangements

Many thanks to Susan Bergen and Anne Tropeano for the beautiful flower arrangments in teapots that graced our tables. Want to recreate that beauty? See what plants were used below:

Anatomy of a flower arrangement

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

There was such a wide variety of food and everything was so delicious. The desserts were amazing and we were lucky to find the recipe for the No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake from Nancy Jordan. You can find the recipe by clicking the button below. Nancy made hers in a 9x11 baking pan instead of the springform pan mentioned in the recipe from "Spend With Pennies":

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

Click button below to see more Victorian Tea Photos:

See More Victorian Tea Photos

April Program Highlights

We had an inspiring speaker, Matthew Bensen, at our April Program. See more of his passion for creating a beautiful life and garden and let it inspire you by visiting his Instagram page:

You can find his retail website, where the plants he grows are used to create one of a kind skin care products here:

Matthew was kind enough to give us a discount code for Cultivate Apothecary: NewCanaan15

Anne Robin Cindy

Thank you to our amazing Hospitality Committee (above): Anne Tropeano, Robin Miner, and Cindy Bamatter for all that you've done for us this year and in the past! You created a beautiful spread for all to enjoy at the April program. Anne Tropeano created centerpieces for the food tables, and two are shown below. These were showstoppers and they certainly embraced the theme of the day "Growing Beautiful Food".

Asparagus arrangement
Carrot arrangement

Annual Appeal is Here

Our Annual Appeal mailing has made its way to New Canaan homes. Click our graphic below if you'd like to donate.

Reason 23 annual appeal

Pollinator Pathway Program


Sunday, May 19th

3:00 pm

New Canaan Library

Register Here
Landscaping for Beauty and Resilience

Landscape design is an investment. The right selection and balance of plants can enhance our enjoyment of our homes and neighborhoods, increase property values, and build resilience during erratic weather like floods and drought. Landscape designer Pennington Grey will share images and interventions from distinctive landscapes in our area to show interesting and innovative solutions that are as practical as they are refined and beautiful.

Mr. Grey’s firm produces and maintains high-caliber, quality work in the Northeast, adhering to strict standards of best practices. He is on the board of the Ecological Landscape Alliance, and is known for the judicious use of native plantings and minimal chemical inputs for maximum visual and environmental benefit.

Member Garden Spotlight

Spring in NCBL member Carol Seldin's garden is lovely.


Welcome to our newest members!

Sarah Armour

Rebecca Schmeltz

Cynthia Brown

Michele Millar

Afsie Djabbari-Aslani

Moving Day graphic

If you have changed any of your contact information (home address, email address, cell phone number, home phone number or simply dropped your landline), please let Sara Hunt ( from Membership know.

Please let me know if a member of our NCBL family needs some cheering up in the form of a card, or perhaps, some flowers. 

Call me at 203-801-0862 or e-mail me at

to provide me with the appropriate information.

Many thanks for your thoughtfulness!


Looking for 'Blooms'

We have new members joining us each month and we need volunteers to be 'blooms' to help us welcome our 'buds'.  Just share your enthusiasm and alert them to upcoming events.  

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Sara Hunt:

We want to be sure everyone feels welcome.

Last Words
Our NCBL Newsletter is used to distribute information regarding NCBL activities and announcements that pertain directly to our stated mission. The newsletter shall not be used for political issues, or for the promotion of merchandise or services unless such merchandise or services are part of a joint venture with NCBL.
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