NER History

HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION 1929-1963

 

The most universal of human failings must be procrastination. No one is more tempted to put off compiling reports than this writer, and yet, when the fresh image of an event is lost, one strives vainly to set down the facts from memory. Thus it is that this account does not contain a consistent record of our Region, which was organized in 1934.

Since NCSGC was formed, four Conventions have been held in New England. Massachusetts was hostess for the 3rd Annual Convention in 1932, and in 1940 the 11th Annual Convention was held at Wentworth-by-the-Sea, Newcastle, New Hampshire. Fall Board Meetings took place, in 1937 at Camden, ME and in 1960 at Swampscott, MA. Incomplete listings of the Hostesses to Regional Annual Meetings indicate that the 3rd such affair took place in Boston in 1936. The following year it was held in Camden, ME, in conjunction with the NCSGC Fall Board Meeting. Connecticut entertained the Region in 1939 at Connecticut College in New London, and a tree was planted to commemorate the meeting and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of NCSGC. A paucity of records during the period of World War II and after is broken in 1959 with fairly complete notes on that meeting in Boston, MA. New Hampshire was hostess in 1960 at Wentworth-by-the-Sea in Newcastle. The following year, the Region foregathered in Groton, CT, and in 1962 in Manchester, VT.

Since 1929, many New England women have given energetic and faithful service to NCSGC, and to the Region. To list their capacities, as well as their names, would repeat the pages of “Who’s Who”. We are all familiar with their accomplishments, and are grateful for them. Regional Directors, elected in rotation from the six states, have been Mrs. Daniel Clarke, RI; Mrs. Joseph F. Leach, MA; Mrs. Fred S. Woods, ME; Mrs. William H. Champlin, NH; Mrs. Levi P. Smith, VT; Mrs. Robert Bowen, MA; Mrs. Alan F. Kitchel, CT; Miss Ethel Winnik, VT; Mrs. E. Carlisle Baker, MA; Mrs. William B. Daniell, NH; Mrs. Hervert K. Keever, CT; Mrs. J. A. Lamont, NH; Mrs. William T. Schwarz, VT; & Mrs. Edmund M. Socec, ME. Mrs. Thomas Motley, MA, served as first President of NCSGC and Mrs. Champlin, NH, served as President of NCSGC from 1945-1947.

When Mrs. Schwarz assumed the directorship in 1959, the theme “Participation Through Cooperation” was selected as a guide. Demonstrating a lively willingness to cooperate, each New England State Garden Club President truly came to understand her associates’ problems, and often found the solution through another’s experience. The Region’s Annual Meeting, in Boston, MA was honored by the presence of Mrs. Jamie Johnson, then President of NCSGC. New Hampshire entertained the Region the following year in Portsmouth. 1960 had proved exceptionally bright for the hostess State Garden Club. Not only was its Honorary State President and former President of NCSGC, Mrs. William H. Champlin, continuing to radiate inspiration to the Federation, one of the professors at the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Albert Yeager, had been awarded the Gold Seal, one of NCSGC’s most coveted honors. And on top of all that, NCSGC presented a Citation to a former State Garden Club President, Mrs. Alan B. Shepard, upon the occasion of her son’s becoming the nation’s first astronaut. Official 1960 was brought to a climax at Swampscott, MA, at the NCSGC Fall Board Meeting. Mrs. Alfred D. Cole and Mrs. E. Carlisle Baker planned an extremely full and stimulating program, and Mrs. Ralph A. Parker welcomed the guests most charmingly.

One of the innovations decided on during Mrs. Schwarz’s administration provided that the subsequent Regional Director serve as assistant to the incumbent. Having enjoyed such all apprenticeship, Mrs. Edmund M. Socec, of Maine, was better prepared than former directors when she took office in May 1961. Since Massachusetts is next in line for NER Director, Mrs. Alfred D. Cole was asked to serve as assistant until 1963, at which time she will succeed Mrs. Socec.

 

At the 1961 NER Meeting in Groton, CT, Mrs. Socec announced that New England was well represented on NCSGC Board and Committees. “Expanding Horizons Through Gardening” was the theme chosen, challenging all members to develop their talents to the utmost. NCSGC’s most urgent problem was need for more funds. This situation filtered down through the Regions to the various State Garden Clubs and the State Garden Club Presidents were requested to ascertain the feeling of their clubs on this matter.

 

Since NCSGC’s dues had remained unchanged for many years, the clubs did not voice any vehement objections, the Region registered a favorable vote for raising dues from 10 cents to 25 cents per member at the Annual Convention in Los Angeles. At that same Convention, a NCSGC Silver Seal was bestowed, in appreciation of her gifts of laud, time, and herself: in the cause of conservation, on Mrs. Alan F. Kitchel of Old Greenwich, CT. Mrs. Kitchel had been New England Regional Director in 1947-49. Rhode Island also was recognized with a Gold Ribbon Award for its exquisite State Flower Show. The 1962 Regional Meeting took place in Manchester, VT. Again, New England was singularly honored by the presence of the President of NCSGC, Mrs. Charles B. Nettleton of Virginia, whose gracious acceptance of New England’s gift quickly endeared her to the hearts of all.
The very incompleteness of the records would indicate that it is preferable to omit listing the Regional members of NCSGC’s nominating committee. A handbook, “The First Twenty Years”, published in 1949 by NCSGC, contains the bare bones of the early days of the New England Region. It is to be hoped that, when the “Second Twenty Years” is complied, the historians may discover a wealth of material, all carefully dated, and containing correct and complete lists of personnel.
At the NER Meeting held November, 1943, Mrs. William H. Champlin, NH, presented a gavel to the Region inscribed as follows:

 

GAVEL PRESENTED TO NEW ENGLAND REGION NATIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE GARDEN CLUBS, INC.

BY

MRS. WILLIAM H. CHAMPLIN, REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT

1941- 1943

March 1. 1963

Mrs. Robert P. Anderson, Secretary

New England Region, 1961 – 1963
HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION 1963-1974

These years were distinguished by creative leadership, innovative thinking, and cooperative action. A new concept in Regional procedure or activity was introduced, explored, or developed to maturity during the administration of each Director. It was a stimulating period of exciting progress and satisfying achievement.

The usual Annual Meetings were held in the various States, plus Regional Breakfasts at the NCSGC Conventions. Each was of much pleasure and benefit to those in attendance.

At Mrs. Cole’s 1964 Annual Meeting, a second day, devoted entirely to Civic Beautification, was co-sponsored by Sears, Roebuck & Co. Mrs. Dahlgren conducted two Special Meetings of two days each during her term as NER Director. A Junior-Inter­mediate-High School Gardeners Seminar was held in 1966, and a Civic Development Conference in 1967. All three of these additions to our regular meetings were inspiring events.

Our NER Awards program was inaugurated in 1966 with the announcement by Mrs. Dahlgren of NER Award #1, donated by Sears, Roebuck & Co. for Civic Beautification. A Special Award of $25.00 was given by Mrs. Elmer S. Watson in 1968 for “the largest number of The National Gardener subscriptions obtained in that year by a State Garden Club. In 1969, Mrs. Wetmore donated NER Award #2 for excellence in Conservation interest and effort. NER Award #3 was donated in 1971 by the J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., to recognize success in placing their “Curriculum Guides”. In 1972 NER Award #4 was donated by Mrs. Christy Hanas to stimulate subscriptions to The National Gardener. These numbered Awards are competitive between the six New England State Garden Clubs.

Regional Awards #5 and #6 were announced in 1974. Award #5 was donated by the Community League Garden Club of Weston, Massachusetts, for the best Conservation of Natural Resources project by a New England Club or Group of Clubs, beginning with the 1973-74 Awards Year. Award #6, donated by Mrs. Watson for outstanding work ill Historic Preservation by a New England Garden Club or Individual became effective with the 1974-75 Awards Year.

In the Fall of 1966, Connecticut proposed the idea of holding an Annual Flower Show Symposium on a Regional basis, replacing those currently staged by individual State Garden Clubs of the Region. After exploration of the advantages and feasibility of this idea by the Executive Committee, and development of plans for its conduct and financing, the First Regional Flower Show Symposium was held two years later in Hartford, hosted by Connecticut.

This Symposium was funded by a contribution of $100.00 from each State Garden Club, of which $20.00 was returned from its surplus to each State Garden Club. The same plan was in effect for the 2nd Symposium but changed in the spring of 1969, when it was voted to put this Regional activity on a self-sustaining basis by using its surplus, and of all future Symposia, plus accrued interest, to establish and maintain a permanent Symposium Fund to revolve from Hostess State Garden Club to Hostess State Garden Club for expenses in advance of revenue.

Another fresh idea was introduced during Mrs. Lawrence N. Andrew’s term when her Board of Directors received a request from the NCSGC Convention Chairman, via her Regional Representative, Mrs. Daniel R. Mann, that one of State Garden Clubs consider hosting the 1974 NCSGC Convention. After considerable discussion, it was decided that, while no one State Garden Club could do so, all might cooperate in hosting this NCSGC Convention on a Regional basis.

This concept was explored under Mrs. Bramley and developed with the enthusiastic support of all State Garden Clubs. In 1973-74, while Mrs. Watson was Director and Mrs. Myrick Crane, Assistant Director, the details were perfected with Mrs. C. Norman Collard, 1974 Convention Chairman, Mrs. Ralph H. Davis, Co-Chairman, and a representative of each State Garden Club. Then, on May 12-16, 1974 in Boston, the New England Region had the pleasure of hosting the 45th Annual Convention of National Council.

All members of the Region were saddened by the resignation, on doctor’s orders, of Mrs. Watson as our NER Director. We were happy to welcome Mrs. Crane as our 1974-75 NER Director on her ratification at the Boston Convention to fill Mrs. Watson’s unexpired term. May 1, 1974.

Mrs. Cristy Hanas, Secretary New England Region, 1973-75

HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION, 1975-1983

Under the guidance of five Regional Directors, Mrs. Myrick Crane, Mrs. James L. Petit, Mrs. Ralph H. Davis, Mrs. Francis Stone and Mrs. Richard D. Wagner, the New England Region responded to the needs and challenges of its organization, National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. from 1975 to 1983.

The Regional Annual Meetings, Symposia, and Breakfasts at the NCSGC Conventions were considered by the membership to have value and were consistently well attended. The meetings rotated in proper sequence. In 1983 the final state, Rhode Island, synchronized its annual election to coincide with NCSGC.

Unified Regional Activities were, “Herbs, Heritage to Horizons” – “Preservation of our Heritage” – “Operation Pink Cloud” – planting of flowering crabapple trees (malus) – Conservation of Natural Resources through particularly endangered native plants – “Natural Beauty in a Healthy Environment.”

Special national promotions in the Region were a Triple E Conference in Vermont in 1980, all Energy Awareness Conference, promoting clean air and solar energy, in Providence, R. I. in 1982, endorsement by 100% of New England’s Senators and Representatives for National Garden Week to be the first Sunday in June, and bottle bill legislation passed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Attempts at coordination of dates of Annual Meetings for the Region and State Garden Club plus Symposia, Flower Show Schools, Landscape Design and Gardening Study Courses were stressed and as a whole, accomplished.

During Mrs. James L. Pettit’s term of office (1975), the NER Judges’ Council was established at the NER Symposium in Newport, R.I.

In 1982, to encourage conservation and preservation of natural resources, the majority of the states updated their Conservation Lists of native wild plants. From the leadership of the Regional “Operation Wildflower” workshop in 1981 at Ogunquit, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont held State Workshops.
For better communications in the Region, a new NEWSLETTER was published. New Awards for the Region were: Helen Hussey Champlin Bowl for the largest number of new members; Mildred Black Pettit Award for the largest percentage increase in new members; Harriet Field Award for the most outstanding activity in the area of landscape design; and the Mary Stone Garden Therapy Award.
Lina F. Wagner, 1983
HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION, 1984-1989
During the years above, three very able ladies were wisely chosen to hold the office of Regional Director, following the rotation prescribed for the New England Region.
The first in order was Mrs. George C. Williams, of Vermont, 1983-1985. She chose as her theme “See – Stimulate – Educate – Evaluate”. The stimulation element was the unified regional project, Water Conservation. The educational aspect included programs and participation with other organizations.   There were programs dealing with water contamination, cause and possible contra-action; consideration of acid rain, toxic waste, possible contamination of groundwater, preservation of wetlands, and on and on. The ramifications from this unified project extended much farther than its author first realized, indicating, as Mrs. Williams foresaw, that these projects would be pursued long after the end of this term. Preservation of water is essential to “Forever Gardening”, theme of Mrs. Johnsrud, NCSGC President.
During the following administration, 1985-1987, Mrs. Granville I. Smith, of Maine, held the office of NER Director, with the theme; “The Future is in Our Hands.” Connecticut hosted a Regional Meeting in 1985 in Mystic with even more excitement than planned as hurricane Gloria arrived in full force! Connecticut also hosted a NER. Symposium in Cromwell in 1985.
The second NER Annual Meeting was held in 1986 at Ascutney Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont.
New Hampshire hosted the 1986 Regional Symposium at the Wayfarer Hotel in Bedford, New Hampshire. At this Symposium, NER Judges Council was disbanded by vote of its members.
The NER Handbook, was revised and reprinted, a major task; a Waste Awareness Regional Conference was organized by Maine members; and Connecticut gave NCSGC the idea of the Statue of Liberty Fund and contributed the most money to it! All these activities supported the theme of Mrs. Fehrer: “Pride In Our Land”.

With the next administration being installed for 1987-1989, at the May Convention, Bal Harbour, FL, Mrs. William K. Thurston, from Massachusetts, became the NER Director. She chose as her theme “Germinating New Generations”, and the unified project; Backyard Habitat. Both were enthusiastically supported. Mrs. Thurston’s personal commitment to environmental matters may have been enhanced by the fact that, due to an exceptionally heavy downpour, the lower level of the Bal Harbour hotel became flooded and the exhibits there had to be evacuated.

Soon after the Convention, fifteen New Englanders attended a groundwater conference held in Washington, DC. There we learned that groundwater and ground water meant two different things. A series of lectures and trips to research centers provided much new information to be carried back to New England, thanks to NCSGC and Shell Oil. A regional groundwater conference was held in September of 1988.

Members of the NER also attended the Landscape Design Symposium held at LSU in Baton Rouge, LA; The Environmental Education Workshop in Pennsylvania; and at both Regional Annual Meetings held in Portland, Maine, in 1987 and in Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1988. A very well attended Flower Show Symposium was held in Portland, Maine in October, 1989, and the International Design Symposium was held in Salem, MA.

New England was honored by a rather extended and busy visit by its NCSGC President, with hospitality graciously extended by Mrs. Thurston, Regional Director. Mrs. Carroll Griffin, NCSGC President, was a delightful and welcome guest.
Mrs. Maynard Maxwell, Historian – 1991
HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION, 1990-1997
New England Region flourished during this period under the guidance of the following talented ladies: Mrs. Stafford E. Young (Paula), 1989-1991, Mrs. George Saul (Sue), 1991­1993, MTS. G. Dickson Kenney (Ginny), 1993-1995 and Nancy Atwell (Mrs. Thomas H.), 1995-1997.

Mrs. Young began her leadership at the Sixtieth NCSGC Annual Convention in Rochester, New York. With her theme “Deuces – A pair of Acers”, Mrs. Young surely did pursue NCSGC President, Mrs. C. Maiming Smith’s theme “Open Wide your Garden Gate”. In 1990, the NCSGC Annual meeting was held in Seattle, Washington while the 1991 Annual meeting was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

At the Solid Waste Management Conference, sponsored by Shell Oil Company, she initiated a two-year project which culminated in an award of S 1000 from Shell. Mrs. Norman Frost spearheaded this project. New England Region also supported Mrs. Smith’s project at the National Arboretum in Washington, D. C. and is proud of the plaque on the bench which represents this region.

Mrs. Stephen Friedberg assumed the Presidency of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts due to the sudden death of Mrs. George Dennett. The Garden Club Federation of Maine introduced its new President’s Pin and Vermont introduced a new member’s pin. During Mrs. Young’s administration, a proposal was initiated to reduce the monies in the Symposium Fund.
Regional meetings were held in Plymouth, Massachusetts and North Conway, New Hampshire while the Symposia were presented in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Brownsville, Vermont.
Mrs. George Saul assumed her two-year term in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under NCSGC President, Mrs. James C. Dawson, (Violet). As did all these lovely ladies, Mrs. Saul visited all the New England State Garden Clubs and also attended the Symposia in Connecticut and New Hampshire– fortunately all short distances since this director does not fly!

Attended by our gracious NCSGC President, Mrs. Dawson, the 57th Annual. Meeting of the New England Region was held at the Harley Hotel in Enfield, Connecticut. The 58th Annual meeting was held at the Cortina Inn in Killington, Vermont. Leslie Frost, Environmental Chairman, organized a most interesting and informative conference on topics ranging from transportation to nuclear power.

The NCSGC Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania proved to be rewarding for the New England Region. Senator John Chaffee of Rhode Island received the Gold Seal and John Trexler of Massachusetts received a Silver Seal. Five New England Students were awarded NCSGC Scholarships, including the Tempe Dahlgren Scholarship.

The garden club members in New England realize that “It’s Our World to Garden” and they are using their knowledge and ability to “Reach Out to the World”.

Pursuing the theme “Grow with Gardening”, Mrs. G. Dickson Kenney, Rhode Island, endeavored to promote the goals of NCSGC and to emphasize the many special projects performed by the New England State Garden Clubs. Mrs. Kenney was the first Regional Director from Rhode Island since 1959. Mrs. Graem Yates, NCSGC President during 1993­-1995, stressed “We Love to Garden and it Shows”. And it surely did in New England!

Connecticut members restored the wild-flower garden at the Governor’s mansion. New Hampshire beautified the roadsides and provided informational exhibits at rest areas. Rhode Island instituted an ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY program and a wildflower garden at Roger Williams Park. Massachusetts conducted a garden tour of over 55 gardens. Vermont planted butterfly gardens around the state while Maine planted trees beginning with a gill of trees to its member at its Annual meeting.

The Regional Unified Project was completed with the highest participation ever and really emphasized the variety and creative ways New England advances NCSGC goals.

Two Symposia were held; one in Maine in 1993 and one in Massachusetts in 1994. The New England Annual Meetings were held in Portland, Maine in 1993 and in Newport, Rhode Island in 1994 with an Environmental Conference held in Rhode Island. A booklet was printed and distributed describing the diverse environmental concerns of the Region.

NCSGC Annual Meetings were held in Stamford, Connecticut in 1994 and Dallas, Texas in 1995. At this last meeting the Seed Court Garden, Mrs. Yates project, was dedicated in Austin at a lovely ceremony attended by Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.

Nancy Atwell, Maine, was installed in Dallas, Texas and titled her theme as “Always Promoting Growth”. Mrs. John M Michie had as her theme “Always Creating Beauty” and her projects were “Millions of Trees” and Beautification of National Headquarters in Missouri.

The New England Regional Meeting in 1995 was held in Chelmsford, Massachusetts where Phyllis Wood, NCSGC Parliamentarian, gave her humorous and informative program on “Let Me Tell You About My Garden Club Meeting” Jane Poore, Master Flower Show Judge from Massachusetts presented a lovely design program entitled “Fall in Flower”.
Mrs. Atwell stressed native plants during her term and produced a Native Plant Seminar at the Annual Meeting in 1996 in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Topics, such as Propagating Native Plants, Native Plants for Roadsides, were discussed and information about NCSGC’s “Operation Wildflower” and J. C. Penney linens was disseminated.

At this meeting Deen Day Smith, Second Vice-President of NCSGC, presented a magnificent program on “Table Settings for All Seasons”.

The 28th Symposium was held in Newport, Rhode Island in 1995 and the 29th Symposium was held in Stowe, Vermont in 1996. The NCSGC Annual Meetings were held in Traverse City, Michigan in 1996 and Hilton Head, South Carolina in 1997.

On her many visits to the six New England State Garden Clubs, Mrs. Atwell visually determined that these states were busily beautifying our land while simultaneously performing other projects to care for the elderly, physically impaired, to educate our youth and the public and to improve our environment.

Mrs. Atwell and Mrs. Kenney revised the New England Regional Handbook in 1997 and presented it to the Six State Garden Club Presidents at the Regional Breakfast dining NCSGC Annual Meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

HISTORY – NEW ENGLAND REGION – 1997 – 2011

During this time period seven talented women shared their expertise and leadership with the New England Region members.

In 1997 Jeanne-Marie Parkes of Massachusetts spread the Region objectives with her theme of “Together Let’s Preserve What is Priceless”.

The Regional Unified Project was:  Clean Water and Roadside Beautification.  The project was to contribute to the improvement and beautification of the environment.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 7,938, ME – 3,554, MA – 12,669, NH – 1,317, RI – 979 and VT 1,071 for a total of 28,528 members.

A highly successful 1997 Regional Annual Meeting was held at the Ascutney Mountain Resort, in Ascutney, VT on October 22-23 with a theme of “Horticulture Seminars”.  Attendees were educated with programs on “Container Gardening in New England”, a demonstration on “Planting a Trough Garden”, “Perennials Throughout the Seasons”, “Step by Step Organic Vegetable Gardening” and a presentation by the special guest Phyllis Wood, NCSGC Parliamentarian with a title of “I So Move”.

Environmental awareness continued with the 1998 Annual Meeting held in Norwich, CT October 19-20.  A PETALS grant was received and programs and workshops at this meeting included:  “Clean Water: Starting With Your Home and Yard”, “Designs for Non-Point Pollution”, “Environmentalism on Main Street”, “Rivers and Greenways”, “Environmental Protection” and “What’s Up Outside”.

Of special note are the numerous accomplishments of this Administration.  An official Regional logo was established.  A Regional Collect was selected.  A cup plate was introduced for sale as a fund raiser.

New England Director Jeanne-Marie Parkes purchased a paver in the name of the New England Region for the National Garden Project of NCSGC.  An endowment from Virginia Thurston former New England Region Director from Massachusetts was received to establish the first New England Region Scholarship.  Regional Bylaws were initiated and two Flower Show School Symposiums were held.  One in Hartford, CT and the other in Bedford, NH.

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Beginning in 1999 Virginia GrandPrè of New Hampshire kicked off this Administration with a theme of “Take Flight With Gardening”.  A workshop held in Bow, NH encouraged members to educate, enhance and/or create wildlife habitats, especially for Birds and Butterflies.

Every club in the New England Region received two flyers for this Regional Unified Project.  One flyer was for Birds, the other for Butterflies.  The flyers outlined the project with a tear-off sheet to be returned by October 1, 1999.  A two page report with a photograph was due by October 1, 2000.  This report would outline the project from initiation to maintenance and benefit to wildlife while the photograph would show the finished garden.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 8,004, ME – 3,508, MA – 12,766, NH – 1,630, RI – 1,932 and VT 1,042 for a total of 28,882 members.

The 1999 Annual Meeting was held in Portland, Maine on October 13-14.  A design program by Tony Todesco regaled members with floral design and tips on arranging.  Continuing with the New England Region theme, Elizabeth Soper from the National Wildlife Federation presented “Rediscovering Your Backyard”.

During the 2000 Annual Meeting, two workshops were held.  A Book of Evidence workshop had club members bring publicity, photographs and scissors.  All remaining materials were supplied and numerous Books of Evidence were completed and ready for mailing.

“What’s Up In National Council?” was presented by Nancy Goulette of Michigan.  This workshop gave members information on how to take advantage of the information available through the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc.

Attendance continued high for the two Flower Show School Symposiums.  The 1999 Symposium was held in Portland, Maine on July 13-14 and 2000 was held in Williamstown, Massachusetts June 13-14.

Goals continued to be met with:
Acceptance of the first Regional Scholarship named for Virginia Thurston.
Two new New England Region Awards – Lina Wagner Perennial Garden and the Virginia GrandPrè Wildlife Gardening Award.
The New England Region Handbook was updated and distributed to all members of the Board.
There was100% involvement of all six New England States in the Unified Project.

Dee Mozzochi of Connecticut chose a theme of “Tend Tomorrow’s Garden” for the 2001-2003 Administration.  The Unified Project “GROW” was kicked off with a workshop in Providence Rhode Island where members were challenged to educate themselves and the public about native plants, wildflowers, invasive plants and alternate planting options.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 8,200, ME – 3,500, MA – 12,712, NH – 1,357, RI – 2,000 and VT 1,050 for a total of 28,819 members.

On May 2, 2001 under the leadership of Lois Dupre’ Shuster, the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc., changed the name to the National Garden Clubs, Inc.  A PETALS grant from the National Garden Clubs was received to fund the printing of 5,000 brochures titled “Control Invasive Plants”.  These were distributed to each state for disbursement throughout the Region.

The 2001 Annual Convention held in Plymouth Massachusetts October 17-18 included a Plymouth Plantation Visit, Trolley Trip through historic Plymouth and the Mayflower Society Headquarters.  Programs for the meeting included a design program “Swinging With the Masters” by Penny Decker and “Colonial New England Landscaping” by Dr. Owen Rogers of the University of New Hampshire.

A Landscape Design Refresher was held in Bedford, New Hampshire on October 15-16, followed by the Annual Convention of 2002 at the same location on October 16-17.  Highlights of the Convention included:  Special guest Lois Dupre Shuster, President of the National Garden Clubs, Inc., Walking Tour of the Manchester Historical Society, a design program “Decorating for the Holidays” by Joanne Krause, and “Perennials” by Frank Wolfe of Lake Street Gardens in Salem, New Hampshire.

The New England Region tied with the National Capitol Area for 2nd place for the NGC Emerald Award for the NER Unified Project.

State PETALS awards were won by all six states.
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Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the New England Region was led by Maureen M. Colton of Rhode Island with a theme of “Exploring Treasured Gardens” during the years 2003-2005.

The Unified Project “Preserving Precious Treasures: A Guide to Historic Gardens” was published to highlight the works of the New England garden clubs.  Each garden was planted and maintained by a garden club on a historic site.  The Directory listed gardens by state, garden club and the site where the gardens were located.  Seventy-six (76) garden clubs and 100 gardens are listed in the guide.  The directories were placed in libraries, garden clubs and preservation societies.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 7,964, ME – 3,040, MA – 12,149, NH – 1,259, RI – 1,825 and VT 1,107 for a total of 27,344 members.

Killington, Vermont was the site for the 2003 Convention on October 21-22.  A tour was conducted of the Marsh Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Mansion Park and gardens as a prelude to the Annual Meeting.  The meeting and workshops were in keeping with the National and Regional Historic Gardens theme.

The 2004 Annual Convention was held in historic Mystic Connecticut and combined a duo refresher in Landscape Design and Garden Study.  The Region was pleased to welcome June Wood, National Garden Club President in attendance.

The Region participated in the America-A-Bloom NGC Project by planting at Habitat for Humanity homes throughout the Region.

A student enrolled in Landscape Design was awarded the first bi-annual Virginia Thurston Scholarship.

The Deanna J. Mozzochi Creative Design Award (#20) was approved.   The award will be presented for the best creative design of the year.

The Maureen M. Colton Award (#21) was approved.  The award is for the best class of designs in a Standard or Small Standard Flower Show.

A memorial service was conducted to honor Past Regional Directors Jean Williams of NH and VT and Mary Lou Smith of Maine.  NH and VT honored Jean Williams with a Gems of Honor at the NGC Headquarters.  The Region purchased a Gems of Honor Tribute as well.
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“The Garden of Youth” was the theme for the 2005-2007 years for New England Director Pamela C. Hebert of Vermont.

The Unified Project “Children’s Gardens – SPROUTS” encouraged clubs to work with youth groups, not only on a one to one basis, but to incorporate this endeavor in their annual programs.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 7,910, ME – 2,842, MA – 12,726, NH – 1,365, RI – 1,905 and VT 1,167 for a total of 27,915 members.

This administrations’ theme was enhanced at the 2005 Annual Meeting held in South Portland Maine on October 18-19 with a theme of “Autumn Downeast”.  At the opening dinner, Ann Jordan illustrated the theme with her “Designing Downeast” floral program.  The morning topic “Using History to Motivate Children to Garden in Today’s World continued the youth objectives with a program presented by John Forti, Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Continuing with the same theme, the 2006 Annual Meeting October 15-16 in Providence, Rhode Island featured Peg Tart, of Newfane Vermont and the New England Region Wildflower Chairman with “The Wonderful World of Wildflowers, Herbs and Weeds”.  This is an eight week after school enrichment program for ages 8-11.  Some of the activities are: exploration of school ground weeds, planting a wildflower trail at the school, planting seeds and planting a patriotic tree dedicated to local volunteer fire fighters on Flag Day.

The Principal Financial Group “Let Freedom Ring” project awarded $19,000 in grants to New England Region states and clubs.  A certificate was received for the Region’s contributions to Habitat for Humanity and the “Green the Gulf Coast” project of National Garden Clubs.

The New England Region website was established and the Ruby Throated Hummingbird was adopted as the NER bird.  The Monarch Butterfly was chosen to be the NER butterfly. Michelle Mensinger of New Hampshire put a wonderful exhibit on the NER website which put the wings in motion for both. The first New England Region pin was created and sold at this time.
New Blue Star Memorial markers reached its highest peak since the project began with 83 new orders.

A new award (#22) was approved:  The Pamela C. Hebert Garden of Youth Award.

Over 100 different projects and activities were completed by the Region clubs and ranged from entering the Smokey Bear contest to creating a garden for Children at Risk, certified visitation venue.  Ninety-nine (99) clubs participated with three states having a state-wide project.
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After serving as New England Alternate Director in 2005-2007, Sonia Cianchette of Maine chose as her 2007-2009 theme “Future Choices: Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants”.

The Regional Project “Seek Regionally Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants” had all six states compiling informational publications to address the issue of giving gardeners ecological sensitive choices.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 7,561, ME – 2,652, MA – 14,221, NH – 1,390, RI – 1,624 and VT 1,033 for a total of 28,481 members.

Bartlett, New Hampshire was the location for the October 16-17, 2007 Annual Meeting.  The opening program featured floral designs through the decades with a challenge section for all attendees to create a “design of the future” at their dinner tables.  Other programs reflected both breast cancer awareness and the fruits of the works of the Region with a video presentation of the myriad of projects sponsored by the states and clubs.

The historic village of Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts served as the perfect venue to highlight the October16-17, 2008 and the theme of Historic Garden Preservation.

All four schools sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. were held during this time period with high attendance and high caliber instructors.

All six states compiled their Regional Project lists and placed them on their state websites.
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Bringing the last of this time period of Administrations was Kathleen Thomas of Massachusetts.  Her 2009-2011 theme of “The Future Starts Today” encouraged members to make a difference in our environment.

With the Regional project of “New England Growing Naturally” the New England Region went green.  All information (documentation, meeting registrations, the newsletter, etc. were posted on the Region’s website, saving the region a considerable amount of money and providing an example to all regional garden clubs that it is possible to operate successfully using environmentally sound practices.

Membership in the 6 states for this period was:  CT – 7,133, ME – 2,449, MA – 12,083, NH – 1,154, RI – 1,484 and VT 1,042 for a total of 25,345 members.

The 2009 Annual Convention was held in East Windsor Connecticut September 21-22 with a theme of “Recycle – Reuse – Rewards”.  Programs for the meeting included Trash Can Creative – a design program with a designer from each state using recycled materials.
Conservation activity presentations included pop-tops for the Shriners; a skit with Kermit the Frog; How to deal with electronic waster; and a presentation from the New England Wildflower Society on Nasami Farm.

At this meeting, bylaws were revised to bring them in line with the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and changing the rotation for the Annual Meeting and Symposiums so that the states could choose if they wished to hold them back-to-back.

The fall colors of Stratton Mountain Vermont hosted The 2010 Annual Convention on October 18-19 continuing the environmental goals of this Administration with the theme “Going Green”.  A Regional Standard Flower Show “Recycle” was presented with participation by all states.

Julie Messervy gave a presentation on landscape designing while Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont spotlighted their activities on Restoring “blighted” areas, Water Preservation and Environmental Literacy respectively.  Wrapping up the programs for this meeting was the President of the New England Tropical Conservancy who spoke on rain gardens.

Symposiums were held in New Hampshire and Maine, Flower Show Schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont and Environmental Education Schools in Maine and Massachusetts.

Accomplishments for this Administration included:
The support and work toward all states attaining 501(c)3 status.
New Awards established:  The New England Wildflower Society Award, Excellence in Teamwork Award and The National Gardening Association Award.
A new Civic Development Grant – The Virginia Thurston Civic Development Grant.
Modification of the New England Unified Project to the New England Regional Award for the best work done for the NGC President’s project.
Creating a new, upgraded website for the Region with a domain name of: www.NGCNER.org.

Virginia GrandPrè – 2011

STATE GARDEN CLUB COLLECTS

CONNECTICUT – The Flower Lover’s Prayer
Our Heavenly Father, as the flowers turn their faces to the sun, so our hearts turn instinctively to Thee, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. The blessings Thou hast showered upon us are more than the leaves of the forest or the drops of dew that freshen the flowers at night.

On the pathway of life may we never lose the fragrance that rises from the thought of Thy watchful care of us. In our fellowship with one another, keep us ever gentle, patient and forebearing, pure in thought, kindly in word, helpful in deed. May we learn to see Thy hand in life’s joys and sorrows and may no winter storms obscure the light of Thy love.

As flowers die and pass out of sight only to blossom again in springtime beauty, so teach us to look beyond the mortal to the Immortal where joys are unfading and blessings Eternal.

Mrs. George E. Kirsten President, 1940-42
MASSACHUSETTS
“Our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the mutual interests and good Fellowship which our Garden Club Federation affords us. Our common objectives bring us into close communion with Thy Divine Power which surrounds us with nature and beauty in all its manifold forms. We pray that in our humble way we may be able to propagate and enhance the riches which nature has so bountifully bestowed upon us. We pray that the elements upon which man is so dependent will be generous in their contributions to our endeavors. We ask Thy guidance in the continuing success of our member clubs and state organization. May we progress to a higher plane of horticultural education and achievement and a true appreciation of Thy goodness to us all. Grant that our bonds of friendship and understanding may grow stronger with each passing year.”

Mrs. E. Carl Baker President, 1949-51
MAINE A Gardener’s Collect
Let us, 0 God, look to the tree and the flower for the beauty and serenity of orderly living. As each in its season, depending wholly on Thee for development arrives at perfection, so may each of us in simplicity and trust, work out the divine pattern of her being. And help us to achieve in living, 0 God, the same harmony and loveliness that we strive for in gardening, exemplifying in both the beauty of holiness.
Mary Carpenter Kelley, 1938

NEW HAMPSHIRE
TO THE GLORY OF GOD and in grateful appreciation of His manifold expressions of beauty, we, The New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, proudly acknowledge our horticultural stewardship; and humbly seek, by faithful service and undeviating purpose, to be worthy of our ancestor conservationists, who preserved for posterity the myriad bounties of nature, and to emulate those early horticulturists, who, through experiment and continued endeavor, increased and developed them.

Let us ever be mindful of our heritage, considering it a sacred duty to protect and conserve those natural resources so generously loaned to each of us for the infinitesimal span of a lifetime. Let us remember that the vision of beauty, the urge to create it, and its ultimate appreciation lie deep in the heart of everyone. And let us learn, 0 God, that only through increased knowledge and patient perseverance comes eventual success.

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In our design for daily living and in our constant association with others, let us reflect the order, harmony and loveliness of our gardens. And let us rejoice in the faithful recurrence of the seasons, knowing that each brings its own abundant and diversified glory. So may we draw courage and inspiration; realizing that we all, in our individual spheres according to our given capacities, may make lasting contributions to the goal of horticultural achievement, now and forever, down through the ages.
Helen Hussey Champlin
NCSGC President, 1945-47