President’s Message - November 2020
As I started writing this message, I lamented that we would have all been meeting at Pat’s Peak for our 2020 Fall Meeting. There we would have memorialized our members who had passed since we held our last meeting at Flag Hill Winery, we would have announced the slate of officers for the 2021-2023 term, we would have celebrated our accomplishments over the past 6 months and we would have enjoyed our speakers, the day’s presentations, and of course, each other’s company. Some of us would have also attended the New England Garden Clubs’ Annual Meeting that was being held in lovely Wells, Maine. However, in the reality of 2020, none of this was to be and we must patiently wait for a future time when we can see each other safely in person, in a large group environment.
I am encouraged by the many ways our clubs have found to continue functioning with some even meeting in person safely during good weather. We are fortunate to live in a state where the community spread is low and citizens are acting responsibly and I am grateful for the technology that allows us to see each other, to enjoy presentations, and to conduct our club business. Zoom is also now being used by National for many of the schools that are available in Landscape Design, Horticulture, and Environmental Studies. September’s Environmental Studies School sponsored by Connecticut’s Federation was well attended and received glowing reviews.
Fall is the time for us to renew our Plant Licenses with the state. Last year NHFGC was approved to be considered like a “big box” store so that each club did not have to individually apply for the license. This also ensured that all clubs had licenses in case they decided to sell any rooted plants. Even though some clubs chose not to hold plant sales in 2020 under the COVID restrictions, many found different ways to have this fund raiser and community outreach activity.
NGC has gone live with their new website. You no longer need a username and password to view all the wonderful tools and information on the site, however there still is a password protected section for state presidents and other board members that has more sensitive and confidential information. This new site is evolving so please be patient as new sections are refined and introduced. There will be a weekly blog regarding various topics of interest to our members. The National Garden (TNG) magazine, Keeping in Touch (KIT) and other newsletters will be available electronically. The dates for all the schools can be found on the site and information on applying for grants, scholarships and awards. When you have a few moments, check it out! The address is www.gardenclub.org or you can access it through our state website under the resources tab.
One area I would like to highlight is the NGC $4,000.00 scholarships available to college students. NHFGC awards three (3) scholarships each year (see the article in this issue) however they are earmarked for UNH students. If you know of other students from New Hampshire that would like to apply for one of the NGC scholarships, check out the information on their website or contact our scholarship chair, Audrey Vargish.
NGC also has several grants for our clubs. The Plant America Grant deadline was in October but there is time to apply for a few other grants. The Espoma Company who makes organic soils and fertilizers live Plant-tone, Holly-tone, etc., is accepting applications between October 1 through May 31 for grants of up to $250 of their products for your spring 2021 projects. Ames Tools also offers grants of tools to our clubs for their community gardening projects. The deadline for that application is March 1. Other grants available include Natural Disaster Grant, Native Plant and Wildflower Education Grants, and Youth Pollinator Garden Grants. The links to these applications are on the NGC website.
In closing, please know that I am always available to assist you as we all work together to beautify our communities, conserve nature, and to develop a better understanding of the world around us. “Keep apart but stay connected”…
“NH Plants for Wildlife”
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” ~ Gertrude Jekyll
Click here to view “The History of the NHFGC, 1933 – 2013” document.
Are you interested in learning about the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. and its member garden clubs?
The New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.’s (NHFGC’s) current membership consists of seventeen (17) area garden clubs with almost 1000 individual members. The state is geographically divided into four (4) districts and each has a Director who was elected to represent them on the NHFGC Executive Board. District Directors work very closely with their member garden clubs by providing assistance and guidance throughout the year. They also work with individuals in their area who may be considering either joining NHFGC or starting a new garden club in their area.
For questions regarding membership in the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs or forming a new garden club, please contact our current Membership Chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WHY BE FEDERATED?
Networking. “One person going through a field may go unnoticed, but many going through with the same purpose will make a “path”. Our state and our national organizations have made many such paths in many fields over the years and will continue to do so as a united front.
Fellowship. Doing what we all love to do, “gardening” with people from different walks of life—of different personalities, ages, professions, education……We all care about our gardens and our communities. Together with our fellow garden club members, we can work to make our communities more beautiful with community garden areas, planters, and we can take measures to protect our natural spaces. Through state and national networking we can learn how to do this more effectively and be recognized for it through their award programs, some involving small monetary awards.
Civic Beautification. Many of us joined garden clubs because we care about our gardens and our communities. Being part of a national organization gives us many opportunities to beautify and protect our state and our nation in a way that we can all be proud of and receive recognition for as well.
Sharing. We constantly exchange ideas for projects and share information—including programming. Members can refer to the “Program Resource Guide” posted on the NHFGC website where hundreds of speakers and program and topics are listed with their contact information. Occasionally two or more clubs will hire a well-known (and usually more expensive) speaker together, sharing the cost and the benefit. (Several of our Committee Chairs and/or Officers also give programs on their area of expertise, such as Flower Arranging, Container Gardening, Bird and Butterfly Habitats, etc. just for the asking or for a very nominal fee to cover travel and/or floral expenses, etc.)
Floral Arranging. Where else can you learn the art of floral arranging from National Garden Clubs Inc.-certified Flower Show Judges for almost free? You are invited to attend a NH Designers’ Guild meeting to observe and learn, then decide if you want to join. The cost is $10 annually. You bring your own materials and its lots of fun—and no pressure! This is a great place to start out if you are interested in floral design but have no experience!!
Board Liaisons. We have four District Directors that sit on the Executive Board. Each represents the clubs located in a specific geographic area with the Director serving as the liaison between their district clubs and the NHFGC Executive Board. NHFGC members are entitled to attend any NHFGC Board Meeting!
Communication. Our website offers ongoing notice of upcoming gardening events, such as flower shows, garden tours, plant sales, and many other activities, in the Public Calendar. There is also a “Members Only” section which is password protected so that the information is not made public under any circumstances. This section has a full listing of NHFGC Officers, District Directors, Standing Committee Chairmen, Member Clubs and their Club Presidents with their contact information. There is also information about each club’s size, meeting dates and times.
Education. Additional learning opportunities that may be of interest are the topics of Garden Therapy (Mindfulness for Seniors) and various youth programs (Junior Garden Club, Smokey Bear poster contest, Poetry competition). Further study areas sponsored by National Garden Clubs, Inc. are Landscape Design School, Environmental Studies School, Flower Show School, and Garden Studies School.
Scholarship Program. NHFGC has a very sound scholarship program. Each year we award a minimum of $1,500 in scholarship funds to qualified UNH students pursuing a career in environmental studies, horticulture or any career that reflects our mission. We increase the amount of scholarship money annually as available funds allow. We encourage our individual garden clubs to give at least one scholarship annually to a local high school student using similar criteria. Our Scholarship Committee selects a viable candidate from applications received throughout the year to forward to National Garden Clubs, Inc. to be considered for an NGC Scholarship, which is currently $4,000. We are proud to say that many New Hampshire applicants have been awarded one of the available National scholarships!
Recognition. There are many awards available to honor achievement by a garden club or an individual. The NHFGC has 25 possible awards, there are 26 available from New England Garden Clubs, Inc., and 36 offered by National Garden Clubs, Inc.
What is expected of you as a member of NHFGC? A commitment to honor the Federation’s mission “to promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic beautification, and both civic and environmental responsibility“. Every member club is free to do this in their own way. Annual duees are required for each member. They are currently $3, which includes $2 for NHFGC and $1 shared for both National and Regional support. (NHFGC operates entirely “dues-funded”, although we have various fundraising opportunities as necessary and as we are able.)
You may ask: “Why should we join the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs?”
Our response: “Why Not?”
For more information about the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs and/or how to join, please e–mail our current Membership Chairman at email@example.com. Thank you.