Branford Garden Club
CONTINUING CLUB PROJECTS
BRANFORD FESTIVAL ON THE GREEN
The Club promotes both civic and club pride by hosting a booth each year at the 3-day town-wide Branford Festival. Our posters, exhibits and displays demonstrate how we help our community. Conservation efforts are highlighted along with education on plants for pollinators, and even free seedlings. Our booth gives us an excellent opportunity to promote club membership.
The main focus of the Civic Development Committee is to locate new public sites for landscape projects and to upgrade areas already established by the Garden Club. Examples of these projects include the Cenotaph restoration, the perennial garden at the corner of Main and Montowese Streets, landscaping at the Town Hall and a rain garden planted at the intersection of Montowese and Main Streets in 2012. A Memorial Fund for deceased Garden Club members was created in 1988 and is under the Civic Development Committee. Over the years, six memorial gardens have been planted at the request of family members.
Residential and commercial gardens in Branford are evaluated for their excellence by the Awards Committee. Club membership are solicited for recommendations on exceptional gardens. Winners are chosen by the Committee and honored at the February meeting. They are presented with a framed Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding gardens, landscaping or other themes set by the Club. Pictures of their gardens are on display at the Blackstone Library. Pictures and information are also sent to the Publicity Chair for submission to local media.
The mission of the Conservation Committee is to encourage club members and the general public to protect and conserve our natural resources. To that end, the Committee develops and implements projects designed to expand members' interest in issues pertaining to a greener environment, and share knowledge and ideas at public events. Projects include recycling, ways to reduce waste and pollution, and preservation of natural habitats. Each project has its own team leader, and may be independent or in collaboration with other committees.
Pollinator Projects educate and raise awareness of the need to provide habitat that attracts pollinators— particularly butterflies and bees. Lifestyle choices and horticultural approaches to property management that protect and preserve a safe and healthy environment are encouraged.
Project 1 – Butterfly Gardens/School based This project is hands-on through the Youth Activities Committee. Members work with children in local schools to stimulate an interest in horticulture and conservation principles. School-based programs emphasize the needs of Monarch butterflies. See details in Youth Activities.
Project 2—Community-based A hands-on program is ongoing at Orchard House Day Center in collaboration with the Garden Therapy Committee. Another program located at the Harrison House memorial gardens is part of the Our Gardens Committee.
The Branford Community Gardeners will offer zinnia seedlings at their spring fundraiser and we encourage members to purchase zinnias to improve home pollinator gardens.
"Project Daffodil" continues its spring beautification efforts by purchasing 500 bulbs and planting them throughout our town during the fall. We all look forward to the spring when we enjoy the fruits of our labor!
Members provide a monthly floral arrangement for our luncheons. A floral design workshop is held at least once a year.
At the beginning of the holiday season, wreaths are made for the Blackstone Library, the Willoughby Wallace Library and the Community House. In addition, the entire Blackstone Library is decorated. All greens are donated by the members.
DOWNTOWN CONTAINER PLANTINGS
Baskets On The Green
The Baskets on the Green began in 2003 as a gift to the Town of Branford on the occasion of the Club's 75th Anniversary. 32 26" European-style baskets were installed on the lamp posts along a half mile stretch on Main Street and businesses and individuals were invited to "adopt a basket". The baskets are planted with annuals in May and again with evergreens in November. Thanks to the excellent participation by our members, the baskets are much-admired by our community. Watering throughout the summer is a shared task between members, volunteers from SARAH, Inc., and the Public Works Department of Branford. We are grateful to Van Wilgen's Garden Center which has contributed plant material either fully or substantially for many years.
Blackstone Memorial Library Planters
The Branford Garden Club gifted two large stone planters to the Blackstone Memorial Library to go on each side of its entrance in 2017. These planters will be planted each year by the Garden Club and maintained/watered by the Library. When the summer plantings are removed, the Club will fill the planters with holiday greens and red bows.
The purpose of Garden Therapy is to use plants and horticultural activities to enhance the physical, mental, and social health of the elderly and incapacitated individuals in the community. Projects include distributing May baskets and Fall arrangements to seniors in various facilities in town and the homebound; overseeing horticultural activities once a month with seniors at The Orchard House; and weekly changing of flowers at the Community Dining Room.
Our purpose is to educate and promote good gardening practices and to introduce our membership to new and old varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. This is carried out through scheduled programs at our monthly meetings, hands-on projects and informational handouts. All members are required to bring at least one horticulture specimen per year. We encourage members to contribute one at each meeting.
Photographs of flowers, gardens, wildlife and seasons are taken and developed into note cards with envelopes. The note cards are sold to our members at club meetings and to the general public at the Village Express in Lockworks Square.
The Branford Garden Club is responsible for upkeep of four public gardens. The Alta Newton Memorial Herb Garden and the Colonial Border Garden are at the Harrison House. The Mae McCabe Memorial Daylily Garden and the Veteran's Memorial Garden are on the Green.
The Alta Newton Memorial Herb Garden is octagonal with a central sundial, granite edging, and an underground watering system. Volunteers plant fresh herbs in the spring. Adjacent to the herb garden the Colonial Border Garden runs along a stone wall. It is filled with shade-loving perennials and self-seeding annuals. Butterflies are attracted to its buddleia, asclepias, rudbeckia and monarda perennials. Volunteers weed, prune, fertilize and mulch these two gardens throughout the growing season.
On the Branford Green, the Mae McCabe Daylily Garden is tucked away behind the Town Hall. Mae McCabe, a past Branford Garden Club president and gifted horticulturist, hybridized many daylilies which still grow in this garden. Committee members tidy, edge, and water this spot as needed. Daffodils supply early spring color and a few mums are planted to brighten this garden in the Fall.
Volunteers from the Evening section of the Branford Garden Club tend the Veterans Memorial Garden. Situated at the flagpole on the Green, it is the most visited of our plots. The red, white, and blue color scheme is maintained throughout the growing season. It requires frequent replanting to ensure a progression of blooms from May through October.
Rosenthal Gardens is the site of affordable housing for seniors on property left by Jane Rosenthal, one of BGC's late members, with the stipulation that the garden will be left to the Town of Branford. She also requested that the Branford Garden Club be charged with its maintenance, with Eunice Lasala as Chair. Since its inception, Rosenthal Gardens has been a joy to the seventeen residents of the housing facility. However, it is difficult for BGC members to maintain. Each year Larry Appleton, the landscape architect of the project, and Eunice, spend many hours working to keep the garden presentable. In recent years, students from Quinnipiac University spend their community service day assisting by raking, pruning, weeding, fertilizing and planting to clean up the garden. More maintenance help is needed.
SCARECROWS ON THE GREEN
This annual fundraiser has grown to include dozens of commercial businesses, local non-profits, school and learning centers and more, who create imaginative and colorful scarecrow vignettes, all displayed on the Branford Green in October. It's a popular BGC fundraiser, and the participants appreciate the publicity and fun. Volunteers to help with publicity are always needed.
Our mission is to work with children and youth and their teachers in child-friendly ways that educate and nurture an interest in plants and gardening.
Pre-Schoolers: For 21 years, we have helped pre-schoolers make Mother's Day "arrangements" by simply helping the children place flowers in mugs. All the materials are either donated by members or purchased by the Club.
Elementary students: Using age-appropriate techniques, accompanied with a brief gardening lesson, we do seasonal plantings such as pansies at Murphy School in recognition of Earth Day; and red, white and blue annuals with Walsh 5th graders at Center Cemetery in honor of Memorial Day.
Middle and High School students planted daffodil bulbs.
Pollinator Projects/Butterfly Gardens
This is a hands-on school-based Pollinators Project supporting our Conservation and education missions through children. School-based programs emphasize the needs of Monarch butterflies and how to create a butterfly attracting garden by planting milk-weed and other nectar producing annuals and perennials. Schools include Walsh Intermediate School and the Branford Early Learning Center (ELC). We hope to register ELC as a Monarch Habitat. We work with the children and their teachers to properly select plants and prepare planting sites.
Also, Murphy has asked for assistance in planning and planting a vegetable garden in the Spring. The Evening Committee will lend their expertise to the vegetable garden activity. Members are encouraged to join in.
Pick the age group you enjoy working with the most and have fun!