Branford Garden Club
CONTINUING CLUB PROJECTS
BRANFORD FESTIVAL ON THE GREEN
The Club promotes both civic and club pride by renting a booth each year at this three-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.
We have been asked by the Parks Department to plant in several areas at Branford Point that have been neglected. We are going to start small, one area at a time, so we can see what works well. The Parks Department will help with tilling the soil and watering during the summer.
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.
"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 horticulture activities to enhance the physical, mental and social health of elderly and incapacitated individuals in the community. Projects include regular horticulture programs and seasonal gardening done with clients at Artis Memory Care and Orchard House Adult Day Care.
Flower arrangements and baskets made by Club members in May and October are delivered by Committee members to our neighbors at Branford Hill Healthcare, Artis Memory Care & Orchard House.
Additionally, Garden Club members volunteer weekly to make fresh flower arrangements for the tables at the Branford Community Dining Room.
Our purpose is to introduce the membership to interesting topics in gardening through information in Scattered Seeds, and posterboard displays and mini-lectures at the monthly meetings. We also encourage the sharing of plant material like tubers, bulbs, seeds, seedlings, plants, and gardening magazines. Every month the horticulture table features a topical theme and members are encouraged to participate at least once a year by bringing in a horticulture specimen to display.
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 the upkeep of four public gardens:
Alta Newton Memorial Herb Garden
Colonial Border Garden
Mae McCabe Memorial Daylily Garden
Veterans Memorial Garden
The Alta Newton 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 the Buddleia, Aclepias, Rudbeckia and Monarda perennials. Volunteers weed, prune, fertilize and mulch these two gardens throughout the growing season.
On the Branford Green, the 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 Club tend the Veterans Memorial Garden (see below)
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.
VETERANS MEMORIAL GARDEN
The Veterans Memorial Garden is an ongoing project of the BGC Evening Committee. The entire Evening Committee helps to deadhead and maintain its pristine look as its prime location on the town green is one of our most visible spots in town.
Our mission is to work with children and youth groups and their teachers to nurture an interest in plants, gardening, and conservation efforts. We encourage pre-school children to become junior floral “designers” by guiding them in arranging Mother’s Day flower mugs.
We also work with elementary and middle school students to assist them in understanding plant and flower life cycles by planting seasonal flowers around their schools and in other public places.
Additional projects include planting red, white and blue annuals in honor of Memorial Day, planting pansies and other early bloomers in recognition of Earth Day, and Fall planting of flowering bulbs to welcome the following spring.
Over the coming year, we plan to work collaboratively with the Club and youth groups to celebrate the town’s 375th birthday.
This is a hands-on school-based pollinator project that supports our conservation and education mission. School-based programs emphasize the needs of all pollinators, especially the Monarch butterfly and how to create a pollinator-friendly garden by planting appropriate annuals and perennials that are suitable habitat and nectar source.
The Branford Early Learning Center is our primary focus.We have been asked to work with Branford High School as they plan a butterfly garden
BRANFORD HAS A BIG BIRTHDAY TO CELEBRATE THIS YEAR - 375 YEARS!
There’s going to be a year-long, town-wide celebration in which we (Branford Garden Club) want participate. At the organizing meeting, the leaders stressed they would like to see organizations collaborating on ideas and dates. Liz Alcorn and Ann Freeman have agreed to organize your ideas and make a plan. Ideas can be big or small, preferably supporting our mission (conservation, environment, youth, education, beautification, etc.), can be an event or an ongoing project, and just us or a collaboration. There are no limits to brainstorming! So, what’s your idea?
Please send an email to Liz and/or Ann to state your idea. If you can, tell us WHO might be able/willing to help, HOW MUCH it might cost (guesstimates are ok), WHEN it needs to happen if timing is important.
The Executive Board will begin to discuss the 375th birthday at the January 31st board meeting. We would like to make a draft plan by our February Board meeting (February 28), so put your thinking caps on!