New Canaan Garden Club

Recent Articles

Despite Calls To Slow Down, Town Council by 7-3 Vote Approves Redesign of ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

Thanking the volunteers who conceived of the plan and vowed to fund it—and despite opposition from some professional landscape architects—New Canaan’s legislative body on Wednesday night voted in favor of a redesign of a prominent garden at Waveny. The Town Council—New Canaan’s land use authority—at its special meeting voted 7-3 in favor of what some have called a “substantial redesign” of the parterre or “upper garden” at the beloved town park, though a national organization and prominent local landscape architect cautioned against a hasty approval. During an emotionally charged meeting at Town Hall, councilmen expressed regret that the two parties holding different opinions on what is best for the garden—the New Canaan Garden Club on one side with the redesign, and Keith Simpson Associates and a Washington, D.C.-based coalition on the other, advocating for a historic restoration—could not find a middle ground. Councilman Joe Paladino said he would like to see an “expanded dialogue” between the two sides—calling the Garden Club “an agency with decades and decades” of service to the town, and Simpson himself “an individual with hundreds and hundreds of hours that have benefitted our town.”

Yet a respectful exchange of ideas did not appear to be forthcoming, and the Town Council after some discussion approved the Garden Club’s plan. Those voting in favor included Chairman John Engel, Vice Chairmen Sven Englund and Rich Townsend, Steve Karl, Christa Kenin, Cristina A. Ross and Liz Donovan. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

New Canaan Garden Club, Beautification League Join Forces To Create Wreaths for Downtown

Ty Tan, a professional landscape designer from West Norwalk, joined the New Canaan Beautification League about 18 months ago, after attending one of its free monthly programs.

This week, she is serving as the league’s coordinator on joint effort with the New Canaan Garden Club to beautify and prepare the town for the holidays. The two nonprofit organizations for more than a half-century have marshaled their considerable forces together to create huge wreaths and other holiday decorations that adorn Town Hall, the Post Office, New Canaan Library, Train Station, God’s Acre bandstand and New Canaan Nature Center as well as Meals-on-Wheels trays. “I think it really makes the town small and beautiful and unique and more personal, as opposed to going to other towns that do not feel personal,” Tan said on Tuesday afternoon as League and Club members placed finished wreaths on the back of pickup trucks for transporting to their destinations. “It really adds that small town touch.”

The New Canaan Department of Public Works assists in the efforts, hanging the wreaths and supplementing the raw materials that League and Club members gather from their own gardens with those the town workers get from public properties. Maryjane Markey, a 25-year town resident who had been a League member and has been a member of the Garden Club for 17 years—this year, chairing the Club’s Holiday Greens Committee—said she was “amazed” on arriving in New Canaan “that our town looked so gorgeous” during the holidays. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Garden Club Wants To Use Irwin Park (Including Barn) for May Flower Sale, Officials Report

One of New Canaan’s longest-serving nonprofits is planning a spring flower sale at Irwin Park, though just where on the Weed Street property the organization will be able to hold the event is an open question, town officials said Wednesday. The New Canaan Garden Club would like to “open the barn up” at Irwin for the planned May 20 sale “and sell the flowers in the barn and people who are in and out from [youth] baseball could come in the afternoon,” Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell said during the group’s regular monthly meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. “But I think there is going to be a challenge with the barn, because it is not safe at this point.”

The comments came during an update from Campbell on special events planned for New Canaan parks. Recreation Director Steve Benko said that in speaking directly to Judy Neville—a member of the Garden Club’s Irwin Park Committee—he flagged other logistical problems for the Saturday planned for the flower sale. “I explained to Judy that with baseball’s zoning permit, they cannot even start until 9 o’clock in the morning, so that means they won’t start their first games until 9:30 and when you get baseball there you talk about getting 60 cars for the first set of games and another 60 cars for the second set of games, and she was all about having an ice cream truck and food truck to keep the parents there to buy plants, and my problem is if we don’t turn over cars every 45 minutes.”

If the event were to start a bit later—closer to midday, and run to about 4 p.m., Benko said—then “that may be OK because baseball is probably done around 12 p.m.”

Campbell asked Benko whether permits are needed for food trucks to operate in the public parks. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

‘A Full Rich Experience’: Conservancy Reviews History of Waveny Park, Future Plans

Perhaps the most important step taken by the last family to own privately what is today known as Waveny Park was in hiring the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm to design its grounds and gardens, a local expert said Wednesday. Led by the Brooklyn-born founder of Texaco Oil Company, the Lapham family not only built Waveny House but oversaw creation of the carefully cultivated area immediately around it, including the walled garden, according to Keith Simpson, a New Canaan-based landscape architect. Yet since New Canaan acquired the property in 1967, its main house, outbuildings and grounds all have needed regular repair and upkeep, such as when Simpson and the Garden Club restored the walled garden east of the prominent brick structure in 1982. “But it’s only a small area,” Simpson told more than 100 listeners gathered in the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center for an hour-long talk on the cherished public park. “More places need attention. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Garden Club and Beautification League Partner To Create Wreaths, Holiday Decorations for Downtown New Canaan

The white lights are in the trees on Elm and, thanks to a longstanding effort of two of New Canaan’s most cherished volunteer nonprofit organizations—with help from the town—the village center will be fully transformed into a winter wonderland come the Holiday Stroll on Friday night. More than 40 members of the New Canaan Beautification League and New Canaan Garden Club gathered Friday morning to create the wreaths, bows, garlands, holiday arrangements and evergreen roping that will adorn Town Hall, the police and railroad stations, library, new Post Office and windows throughout town. “Our members are vitally interested in this from both organizations because it’s such a great joint effort,” Jane Gamber, president of the Garden Club, said from the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center, amid tables piled with ilex bush cuttings, winterberries, pinecones and branches. “We enjoy collaborating together. It’s the holiday spirit and it’s a great way for everybody to give back a little to this town.”

For the past week, members of the Department of Public Works have been collecting the greens and—together with others supplied by New Canaan-based Mill River Tree Service—supplied the makings of the decorations. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,