Monday, June 13, 2011


Our revised website has been launched and this blog is no longer being maintained. Visit for CHS news, events, information and beautiful photos.  

Attention CHS travelers: There is a change in the West Hartford departure point for all trips in June, July and August, 2011. The new departure point is Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford (next to Moscarillo's Garden Shoppe). For questions, call Friendship Tours, 860.243.1630.

Attention advertisers:  A "Fall Marketplace" advertising section is planned for the September 2011 issue of the CHS Newsletter. Horticulture-related businesses may advertise their products and services, as space permits and with preference given to businesses that are Connecticut Horticultural Society members. About 900 garden-loving homes and businesses statewide receive the newsletter. Ad prices range from $25 to $90. Deadline for receiving digital copy is Aug. 1, 2011. Please e-mail Colleen Fitzpatrick Michelson for details: kalmia.editorial (at symbol)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gardens Galore! CHS 2011 Garden Tour

The 2011 CHS Garden Tour continues in July with private gardens open for viewing in Wallingford and West Hartford and in East Otis, Mass. The cost of visiting CHS open gardens is $5 per garden per person. Buy tickets at the gardens or in advance from the CHS office, 2433 Main St., Rocky Hill, CT  06067. Cash or check only. Call 860-529-8713 for information.

      * Sat., July 16, Wallingfordgarden of Richard Howard (daylily hybridizer)
      * Sun., July 24, West Hartford gardens of Elizabeth Fitzpatrick; and Paula Mooney 
      * Sat., July 30, East Otis, Mass., garden of Anita Brucker
      * Sun., Aug. 21, gardens of Colleen Plimpton in Bethel; and Kathy Streit in Redding
      * Sun., Sept. 18, Norfolk garden of Mary Ann McGourty
      * September (date tbd), Farmington gardens of Lynn Cavo; and Steve Silk
      * Sun., Oct. 9, East Haddam garden of Lee May

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Love to Learn? Sign up for a CHS Workshop

To sign up for a program, please send a check payable to the Connecticut Horticultural Society, along with the coupon from the CHS Newsletter or a note indicating your program choice(s), names of participants, member status and contact information, to CHS, 2433 Main St., Rocky Hill, CT 06067. For more information, call the CHS office, 860-529-8713.

Small-plot Vegetable Gardening—CHS member Alice Willard shows how she turned part of a parking-lot island into a small but productive vegetable garden. She describes how she and her colleagues have prepared and maintained the garden and what they have learned. All produce goes to the Farmington Food Bank.
Saturday, July 16, 9:30 a.m.
Location:  St. James Episcopal Church, 3 Mountain Road, Farmington 
Cost: $5 CHS members, $10 nonmembers
Limit: 15 participants

Coming in September: Jeannine Loughlin instructs on the care of bonsai; Steve Silk shows how to protect and store tropical plants through the winter. Please check back for updates.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Travel: Broadway, New York City, July 13, 2011

Broadway, Here We Come!
* ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Matinee
 * Pre-show lunch
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Join us for a matinee of “Catch Me If You Can,” a high-flying new musical from the team that created the Tony Award-winning Hairspray. Enjoy great music, great dancing and a great cast from orchestra seats at the Neil Simon Theatre.

In this story about chasing dreams and not getting caught, Aaron Tveit stars as Frank W. Abagnale Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of a glamorous new life. With a big imagination, a boyish charm and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank poses as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and wins the girl of his dreams.

We enjoy a pre-show lunch at a fine restaurant in the Theater District. Menu: house salad; bread; choice of chicken Florentine with vegetables, pan-roasted salmon, OR meat lasagna with ricotta; dessert and beverage.

Departs: 7:30 a.m., Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford; 7:50 a.m. Sheraton, East Hartford. Returns: 7:30 p.m. East Hartford (depending.on traffic). Cost: $190 per member, $194 per nonmember, based on 40-50 travelers.
For a trip flier and to register, click here on Friendship Tours.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Travel: Newport, R.I., July 26, 2011

Summer Gardens of Newport, R.I.
* Cruise of Narragansett Bay & Newport Waterfront
* Tour of Newport in Bloom Gardens
 Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Discover the beauty of Narragansett Bay and the Newport waterfront while cruising on the elegant Majestic. The 2 ½-hour tour offers narrated sightseeing whose highlights include the famous homes on the bay, Brenton's Cove and Castle Hill Lighthouse.

We enjoy our buffet lunch in the vessel’s wood-paneled, comfortable dining area set with china and linens. Sample menu: Caesar salad, fish and chicken entrĂ©es, pasta, vegetable, potato, dessert pastries, coffee and tea.  

Then we visit the charming private gardens of Newport in Bloom, where each garden offers up its own show of color, structure and plantings.

Departs: 7:15 a.m., Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford; 7:30 a.m. Sheraton, East Hartford. Returns: 6:30 p.m. East Hartford. Cost: $77 per member, $79 per nonmember, based on 40-52 travelers.
For a trip flier and to register, click here on Friendship Tours.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Travel: Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Aug. 2-5, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Private Gardens * ‘Joseph’ at the Millennium Theatre * Linden Hill Gardens * Pres. James Buchanan’s Mansion * Quilt Display at an Amish home
Tuesday, Aug. 2-Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

Join us for a scenic summertime journey through bucolic Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Day 1: We’re bound for Lancaster, Penn., the heart of Amish Country, where we’ll spend three nights at the Comfort Suites Lancaster and visit Kitchen Kettle Village with its delightful shops. Hop aboard a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride along back roads to witness the Amish lifestyle at an Amish farm.

In the village, a family-style dinner in a charming home that has been converted into the Kling House Restaurant awaits us. Dessert treat: Create your own Whoopie Pie.

Day 2: After a Continental breakfast we visit Amish country with a guide who shares Amish customs and traditions. We are fortunate to be invited to visit several private Amish gardens, including that of the Fisher family, and to meet the gardeners. Other stops will include a visit to an Old Order Amish home to see a beautiful quilt display.

Lunch time (on own) finds us at the popular Isaac's restaurant and deli, which features soups, salads and famous grilled cheese sandwiches.

History comes alive this afternoon as we step inside Wheatland, the stately mansion of the nation’s 15th president, James Buchanan. Docents greet us in period clothing and share the secrets and details of Buchanan’s political and personal life as we move through the elegant rooms. They include the library where Buchanan wrote his inaugural address and the formal dining room decorated with period furniture. We end our visit with a walk through the lush gardens.

Back at the hotel, we relax and take advantage of the indoor pool and fitness center before dining at the well-known Miller's Smorgasbord. Choose from an array of mouth-watering American favorites and Lancaster County heritage dishes. The bakery offers many fresh desserts. Spend an evening at leisure.

Day 3: After breakfast, we enjoy a riding tour of historic downtown Lancaster, followed by free time for exploring some of the delightful sights, including museums, boutiques and hanging flower-basket displays, and for eating lunch.

Then we enjoy the story of "Joseph" at the Sight & Sound Millennium Theatre, and take in the extraordinary music, costumes, lights and special effects that take us from the field of Canaan to the stunning palaces of Egypt. "Joseph" is an exhilarating experience that entertains and inspires. We’re invited to dinner at The Greenfield, a charming 1780 Pennsylvania farmhouse. Menu: Choice of lemon pepper chicken, baked salmon or pork tenderloin; and vegetables, rolls, beverage and dessert.

Day 4: A hearty breakfast fuels us as we head homeward with stops along the way. First, we visit Lancaster’s Central Market, which offers farm produce, coffees, teas, pastries and crafts. Our second stop is the exquisite Linden Hill Gardens, designed by landscape craftsman Jerry Fritz, who is a friend of CHS President Steve Silk. Jerry and his staff will guide us through the display gardens, and the retail nursery specializes in rare and cutting-edge plants. There will be a special discount for CHS.

We’ll have a short lunch stop at Peddler's Village before heading for home with memories of our Penn Dutch vacation.

Cost: $595 per twin member based on 30-45 passengers; $749 per single member; plus $40 per nonmember. Includes: deluxe motorcoach, three nights hotel; three continental breakfasts, three dinners, theater tickets to “Joseph,” sightseeing; driver gratuity; $35 per person donation to CHS. Escorted by Lois Isaacson. Deposit: $100 per person with reservation by May 12, 2011. Final payment by June 16, 2011.
For a trip flier and to register, click here on Friendship Tours.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring into the Garden: 2012 Symposium

Plant explorer, breeder and nursery owner Tony Avent will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 CHS symposium on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in Portland, Conn. Tony owns Plant Delights Nursery, a mail-order nursery in Raleigh, N.C., that features rare and unusual perennials, hostas and native plants. A prolific author and engaging raconteur, Tony will surely liven up the winter during the society’s 125th anniversary year.

Kerry Ann Mendez, owner of Perennially Yours in Saratoga, N.Y., and Nan Sinton, renowned horticulturalist, educator and world traveler, round out the day. 

Nan Sinton
Kerry Ann Mendez
Spring into the Garden
A one-day symposium of practical gardening ideas and inspiration, sponsored by the Connecticut Horticultural Society
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
Location: Portland High/Middle School, 
95 High St., Portland, CT 06480
Time: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Fee: $65 for CHS members; $75 nonmembers until Dec. 15, 2011 (add $5 after that date). Fee includes symposium attendance, bistro lunch, coffee breaks and access to vendors and Master Gardeners.

To register, please contact the CHS office at 860-529-8713,, or CHS, 2433 Main St., Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Garden- and plant-related vendors who are interested in staffing a booth at the symposium: Please contact Betty Gehris at or 860-528-1375.

Check back for updates. It’s never too early to mark your calendar!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flower Show: Thank You, Volunteers, Donors, Patrons

by Nancy Brennick, flower show chair

The success of the CHS flower show exhibit would not have been possible without our volunteer crew. On behalf of the Board of Directors and CHS members, I thank committee members for their hours of toil and their commitment when the weather forced scheduling changes and family matters and jobs required juggling. 

Thanks to Joan Stubenrauch, our able guardian of forcing, plants, plant-list maker and sale organizer; Kevin Wilcox, horticulturist of Farmington Valley Nursery in Avon, who constantly shows us yet another thing he can do; Cathy Testa, “commando” of the CHS show hosts and speaker facilitators; Nancy Shipman, a mentor in the true spirit of CHS; Bob Shipman, who can wear any hat we toss on him; designer Deb Kent, who saw what needed to be done and did it; Alice Willard, who offered encouragement and plant plotting; Elaine Widmer for her signage, feedback and brainstorming; Lynn Cavo, who said, “I can do more and I have a big station wagon!”;  Donna Eriksen, our go-to helper in Litchfield; Faith and Bill Geist, who transported plants; Keri Milne and Pat Murawski, who were a breath of fresh air; horticulturalist Elizabeth Morin, who keeps us connected to Cheshire growers; Fairlee Latawic, our meals-on-wheels chef; and Alli Schubert, my niece who came from Boston to put the polish on our props.

Also, Steve Silk for his design vision and hours of consult and whose efforts on behalf of CHS we respect tremendously; David Smith, who with broken ribs managed his usual magical bulb display, and Cheryl Whalen of White Flower Farm, who became our “garden angel” in the WFF greenhouses; David Hayes for the loan of his sculpture "Screen," which completed the perspective of our display; Bonnie McLachlan, CHS office administrator extraordinaire; spouses, including Ken Stubenrauch, Dick Kuzmak, John Bergeron and Tom Widmer; the 75 volunteer hosts and speaker facilitators, whose congeniality represented CHS well; the many other members and friends who gave their time to make our show display a winner; and the following donors and partners.

Cedar Mountain Stone & Mulch, Newington
Kevin Wilcox, Farmington Valley Nursery, Avon
TK & Brown's Flowers, Bloomfield and Rocky Hill
Moore’s Sawmill, Bloomfield
White Flower Farm, Morris
Glastonbury High School VOAG
Richard P. Kuzmak, Esq.

Broken Arrow Nursery, Hamden
The Plant Group, Franklin
Prides Corner Farm, Lebanon
PC Richard & Son
T&D Growers, Cheshire 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Capturing the Magic: It's Flower Show Time in Connecticut

View fine art and flowers at the CHS exhibit
Show photos: Kevin Wilcox
The 2011 Connecticut flower show is underway, and CHS Flower Show Chair Nancy Brennick and her tireless team of volunteers has created a stunning exhibit that inspires visitors to "capture the magic" of CHS membership.

The CHS exhibit won the American Horticultural Society's prestigious environmental award.  The judges said the display demonstrates skillful design that incorporates principles of environmental stewardship.

The jewel amid the plants is a painted steel sculpture by renowned American sculptor and CHS member David Hayes of Coventry, Conn.

"Amazing how it almost dances -- and how cool yet organic -- almost in flight -- the metallic blades look juxtaposed against all the welcome lushness of a springtime to come,"  The Hartford Courant's Nancy Schoeffler wrote in her blog.

David created the abstract piece, Screen Sculpture, from welded steel and drew his inspiration as he always does from the shapes found in nature. The sculpture stands just under four feet tall, and is 26 inches wide and 13 inches deep.

He  loaned the piece to the CHS exhibit after Nancy Brennick and her colleagues found their design lacking and approached him for ideas.

“We are thrilled that this famous master sculptor agreed to work with us,” said Nancy, who the society's vice president. “This elegant sculpture provides the perfect focal point for our display of more than 600 spring-flowering bulbs, 200 perennials and 35 shrubs and trees. The matte gray blades contrast with the lightness of the plants in a stunning way, enhancing their attributes.”

David's work has been seen in more than 300 exhibitions worldwide and in more than 100 institutional collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

He was born in Hartford and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and his master’s of fine arts degree from Indiana University. He received a post-doctoral Fulbright award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a recipient of the Logan Prize for Sculpture and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2007, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. Read more about David and his work.

CHS has been a premier exhibitor in the landscape section of the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show for more than 30 years. The society invites visitors to embrace the show theme and "Capture the Magic" by becoming CHS members and growing, learning and traveling with the nonprofit, volunteer organization.

The flower show runs through Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Show hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through Saturday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. Visit ctflowershow. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

'Capture the Magic': Behind the Scenes

Here are just a few of the many CHS members and friends who volunteered their time, elbow grease and creativity to build the CHS exhibit at the 2011 flower show. Photos by Steve Silk, except where noted.

Flower Show Chair Nancy Brennick

Bob Shipman & Deborah Kent

Kevin Wilcox
Fairlee Latawic & Kevin 

Photo: K. Wilcox

Steve Silk, conducting

Fairlee (left) & Nancy Shipman

Photo: K. Wilcox