Highlights of the SGC’s recent community projects
- COMO Children’s Learning Garden
- Wayland’s Wharf Rain Garden
- Conservation Outreach
- Deck the Walls – fundraiser for the Stonington Historical Society
- Village Fair floral booth – fundraiser for the COMO Children’s Learning Garden
- Holiday Greens for nursing care facilities
- Stonington Lighthouse Garden
- Stonington Borough Post Office Garden
- Library floral arrangements
- Other projects funded by the Stonington Garden Club
COMO Children’s Learning Garden
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. 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 COMO Children’s Learning 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 Learning 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 Middle School Fifth Graders 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.
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 Stonington Lighthouse Museum. It is a co-sponsored event with leadership from both SGC and SHS. Individuals, organizations, garden clubs, and others are solicited for decorated wreaths, boxwood trees, and other gift items, which are displayed at the Palmer House. A Preview Party is held the night before the Stonington Borough Holiday stroll with “buy it now” pricing followed by an online auction for three days. For more information about the Stonington Historical Society, please go to www.stoningtonhistory.org
Flower Booth at the Stonington Village Fair
At the Stonington Community Center’s Village Fair the first Saturday in August, the club hosts a booth where we sell floral arrangements and plants, with proceeds supporting the Stonington Community Center.
SGC has had a long-term relationship with the COMO through its Children’s Learning Garden which the club maintains. In addition to vegetables, the club grows 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, staffing 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 200 small holiday arrangements for the residents of local nursing care facilities, serves as the Club’s December meeting and is preceded by a short business meeting. The Provisional/New Members serve as Hosts and direct the workshop with help from the previous year’s New Members. These Members gather greens from a variety of local gardens. Arrangements are created with the greens and red and white carnations are added for extra color. The arrangements are then all delivered to the care facilities.
Stonington Lighthouse Garden
SGS volunteers help maintain an elegant perennial garden at the Stonington 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. SGC makes an annual donation to the Stonington 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.
Stonington Borough Post Office Garden
The Stonington Borough Post Office garden is designed and cultivated throughout the year by the SGC. The club approved a project landscaping the Post Office garden at its annual meeting in June 1965. The project was completed in October 1965 under the guidance of Mrs. Donald C. Cottrell and Club President Mrs. Harriet C. Hughes. The Club’s August 1964 House and Garden Tour provided the initial funding for the project.
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.
Other Projects funded 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 additional 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
- 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 (See our Gifts & Scholarships page for more scholarship information.)
- Purchase of mobile science carts and annual purchase of science books, tapes, CD-ROMs for Stonington high school and middle school
- Major funding for the creation of a grape arbor and perennial beds at the Captain 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 DEEP
- 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 Stonington Borough 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
- Contribution toward the planting of the Norway Spruce in Wadawanuck Square in collaboration with the 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
- Creation of a “pocket” garden in front of the Quiambaug Fire Station
For information on applying for a SGC grant, please contact email@example.com.