Highlights of the SGC’s recent community projects
- COMO Children’s Garden
- Wayland’s Wharf Rain Garden
- Conservation Outreach
- Deck the Walls – fundraiser for the Stonington Historical Society
- Holiday Greens for Senior Centers
- Library floral arrangements
- Lighthouse Garden
- Post Office Garden
- Village Fair floral booth – fundraiser for the COMO Children’s Garden
- Projects funded by the Stonington Garden Club
In 1997, the Stonington Garden Club (“SGC”), in partnership with the Stonington Community Center (“COMO”), created a community garden for children and teens (ages 5-15) to learn about nature through gardening. The various recreational structures throughout the enclosed garden and open space provide a safe and secure place to play. The COMO staff created the gardening curriculum, “Mother Nature”, which integrates the different stages of growth in the garden, including perennials, annuals, and a full array of vegetables and berries. The SGC volunteers work with the children to learn about seed planting, cultivation, and finally harvesting. The prized produce is taken back to the COMO kitchen where the children learn how to prepare, cook, and enjoy fresh food, encouraging healthy eating habits.
In 2019-2020, the Children’s Garden Committee, after several fundraising activities, fully renovated the garden by adding new sod, ten raised vegetable/flower beds, a beautifully planted water pond, a blueberry and strawberry enclosure, and a garden shed fully stocked with all the tools that little and big gardeners need.
Natural wood stumps under a shade tree offer a seated game area with colorful painted stone playing pieces and an inviting crafted wood serpentine bench for just sitting and enjoying the garden. The rear area has a shaded pergola and picnic benches for all to use. The front area of the garden was enhanced by a wooden fence with climbing roses and Vinca vine as a ground cover. Lastly, a crushed stone area, bordered in granite cobblestones and a bluestone path, replaced the former “weedy” parking area.
Local craftspeople, merchants, artists, friends, members of the SGC, and the local Boy Scout troop all pitched in to donate and help make the garden come to life. Now the COMO Children’s Garden is not only a place to learn but a beautiful respite for walkers, visitors, garden “aficionados,” as well as the whole community to enjoy seasonally.
Wayland’s Wharf Rain Garden
The Stonington Garden Club, Stonington Borough, and the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District (ECCD) have partnered to install a rain garden at Wayland’s Wharf in Stonington Borough.
Planted with attractive grasses, ferns, and flowering Oakleaf Hydrangea and Blue Flag iris, this project is funded by the Stonington Garden Club and a Long Island Futures Fund grant. This project is also supported by the federal EPA and the Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Located in the middle of the west side of the Borough overlooking the harbor, Wayland’s Wharf’s bowl-shaped garden is nature’s water filter, planted with attractive low maintenance native plants and grasses. It collects stormwater runoff from the parking lot and naturally filters out pollutants, preventing harmful elements from flowing into Stonington Harbor.
The Conservation Committee spent time with the Pawcatuck Fifth Graders on May 20 to teach them how to upcycle old tee shirts into recyclable bags called “tee bags”! The teacher, Elaine Temel said that the children enjoyed the project so much that many brought their tee bags into school the next day to use for their field trip.
The children were also treated to a brief presentation about taking care of our oceans and the importance of keeping anything artificial out of the ocean. Jason Hine was the featured speaker and did an excellent job of educating and entertaining the children.
The teacher would like for the Stonington Garden Club to come back next Fall to do another project with the children which could be something other than conservation ie. rain gardens or something to do with plants. So members please give it some thought! It was a fun day for the committee too!!
Deck the Walls
Deck the Walls is a fundraising event to benefit the Stonington Historical Society’s (SHS) gardens at the Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House Museum and the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington. It is a co-sponsored event with leadership from both SGC and SHS. Individuals, organizations, garden clubs and others are solicited for decorated wreaths, which are displayed on the walls of the Palmer House. A Preview Party is held the night before the Stonington Borough Christmas stroll. There is a Silent Auction for the wreaths and sometimes a speaker is invited or a children’s workshop is held over the weekend. For more information about the Stonington Historical Society please go to www.stoningtonhistory.org
Flower Booth at the Stonington Village Fair
An annual event, at the Stonington Community Center’s Village Fair, the club hosts a booth that sell floral arrangements, with proceeds supporting the Stonington Community Center.
SGC has had a long-term relationship with the COMO through the Children’s Garden where it provides, on COMO land, a working garden. As well as vegetables, the club grow several varieties of decorative flowers. Along with the flowers collected from our member’s gardens, the members create beautiful arrangements for sale.
All SGC hands are on deck for this event, collecting and arranging flowers, manning the tent, and selling the arrangements all in one day! It is very gratifying to see the excitement of the many flower lovers who look forward to taking home something beautiful from the SGC gardens of Stonington!
Holiday Greens Arrangements
This workshop, where club members make approximately 220 small holiday arrangements for local nursing home residents, serves as the Club’s December meeting and is held in the COMO auditorium, preceded by a short business meeting. Provisional/New Member members serve as Hostesses and direct the workshop with help from previous year’s Provisional/New Member members. Provisional/New Member Members gather greens from a variety of local gardens, bringing them to the COMO the day before. Arrangements are created and red and white carnations are purchased to decorate the arrangements, which are then delivered to nursing homes.
Volunteers from the Stonington Garden Club help to maintain an elegant perennial garden at the Stonington Historical Society’s Lighthouse Museum. In 2016 SGC member Marguerite Moore provided the funds to have the garden replanted with a variety of perennials to provide color and flowers throughout the summer season. Stonington Garden Club makes an annual donation to the Historical Society to help pay for the maintenance of the garden by a professional gardener who works with the volunteers and provides advice. Please stop by the lighthouse, visit and stroll the grounds.
Post Office Garden
The Stonington Borough Post Office garden is designed and cultivated throughout the year by the SGC.
Stonington Library Flowers
Each week from spring till fall the Stonington Free Library receives a floral arrangement, brought to the library by a member. Our flowers sit at the front desk of the library for all the community to enjoy.
Projects funded in part by the SGC
The Stonington Garden Club has had a long history in which scores of members have had rewarding and pleasurable times working together. From 1985 to the present, the following projects have been funded. Many are ongoing:
- Purchase of trees and daffodils for North Main Street
- Landscaping for the Stonington Free Library and the Lighthouse Museum
- Funding and creating the Children’s Community Garden
- Creation of NatureScapes, a natural science program with annual field trips for each 3rd grade class in Stonington (private, public, parochial)
- Scholarships for 2 high school students to attend Project Oceanology at the University of Connecticut’s local facility; Annual Environmental Award
- Purchase of mobile science carts, and annual purchase of science books, tapes, CD-ROMs for the high school and two middle schools
- Major funding for the creation of a grape arbor and perennial beds at the Nathaniel Palmer House, Stonington Historical Society’s grounds
- Startup funding for the Wayland’s Wharf gazebo
- Reclaiming wetlands at the Stonington Community Center with the DEP
- Published “What’s Up Outside,” a 56 page teacher’s workbook on natural science
- Funding for the Paffard Woods Project through Avalonia Land Conservancy
- Creation of a wildlife garden at the West Vine Street School
- Funding for a new garden at the entrance of Dean’s Mill School
- Funding for seagrass at Dubois Beach
- Published “Earth Friendly Alternatives,” a 47 page book on alternatives to pesticides
- Funding for landscaping at the new Stonington Fire Department building
- Donations to the F.R.E.S.H. vegetable garden project in New London
- Contribution to Scholarship Fund for GCA Student Conservation Scholarship
- Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
- Avalonia Land Conservancy
- Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association
- Save the Sound
- Dean’s Mill after school Garden and Junior Garden Clubs
- Funding for talks on careers in agriculture at Stonington High School
- Stonington Village Improvement Association
- Outdoor classroom/ garden at West Vine Street School
- Outdoor classroom/ garden at Mystic Aquarium
- Centennial Tree Project: 22 Trees donated to Stonington Land Trust
- CUSH: Clean Up Sound and Harbors
- Friends of Wadawanuck Square
- Contribution to the Coogan Farm and Davis Farm Campaigns
- The Cottage at Avalon/Stonington Community Classroom
- Funding for additions to Stonington High School’s courtyard
- 2018 renovation of the Children’s Garden