What We Do
Our members pursue their interests and promote the club's mission through a wide-range of projects and committees.
Our most visible and enduring contributions are the many Civic Projects that are enjoyed in the wider community. From donations to major organizations and smaller community groups for their major garden projects to our own members “rolling up their sleeves” to help plant and maintain public gardens, we help build a more beautiful world.
Throughout the year we offer fun gardening inspired craft activities to elementary-aged school children; participate in hands-on floral arranging sessions in senior homes; and each December we create fresh holiday-themed table centerpieces for three homeless shelters. This year we will also participate in two sessions to harvest and make special teas for the “Healing Meals” Community Project at Auerfarm Education Center to further strengthen our relationship.
From the outset, the CVGC and the GCA have maintained a strong environmental stance to protect our planet’s precious resources, especially clean water. We support initiatives to promote indigenous plants that support biodiversity and preserve habitats, particularly for pollinators, while reducing polluting waste or eliminating invasive species. At a club level, we share information about books, films, events and host guest speakers to address this vital topic. Nearly sixty years ago the GCA established the National Affairs & Legislation and Conservation Committees which present well researched GCA Position Papers to advise legislators in Washington DC. We are informed, active and have a united voice.
Who doesn’t love an artfully arranged floral display? Our hands-on workshops and friendly sweepstakes encourage everyone to try new techniques. If you have a real flair for floral design, you may enter competitions at Zone or National level. Perhaps you may develop your skills to become a GCA-accredited Floral Design Judge. It’s a beautiful way to be involved.
Garden History & Design
This project helps document contemporary and historic gardens so anyone with an interest in landscape design, preservation and research can understand how American garden styles have changed over 130 years. Our team submits extremely detailed descriptions of a chosen garden in our area with maps showing significant structures and plantings with historical records, if available. Captioned photographs help show the garden in all its seasonal glory.
It is an honor for the story of selected gardens to be accepted into the Archives of American Gardens (AAG) which manages 65,000 images and documents dating back to the 1890s on behalf of the Smithsonian Gardens, a division of the world renowned Smithsonian Institute. These records are available to view online at .
Since our formation in 1917 our club’s activities and contributions have evolved as society changed. We celebrated our Centennial with a year of events during 2017-18, culminating in the handover of the Heritage Rose Garden to the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in Hartford. A time capsule with significant documents recording our history was buried at the conclusion of these events. A more comprehensive and accessible record of our activities and contributions are stored at The Connecticut Historical Society.
CVGC’s own members and guest speakers regularly share their expertise in practical demonstrations, workshops and presentations throughout the year. As gardeners we are always interested to learn better techniques to care for our plants or to discover a new exotic variety. Sweepstake or “gavel challenges” are friendly inclub or Zone competitions to understand how plants respond to different conditions.
Photography records our members in action and helps document how our civic projects evolve over time. Photos enhance our presentations and publications, providing a captivating online presence. Members improve their own skills though presentations, workshops and tips. Everyone is welcome to enter in-club sweepstakes and competitions at Zone or GCA level.
Public Relations & Communications
Timely information is essential so we rely on many people to keep communications flowing. Our Directory is an invaluable overview of each year’s events and current membership. Our monthly newsletter, The Dandelion, is supplemented by brief ad-hoc “Dandies” and our Recording Secretary ensures there is a fair record of our meetings. An annual slideshow recaps the year’s highlights. Multiple reports are submitted within Zone II as well as to GCA, including articles for the GCA’s national magazine, The Bulletin. We have a PR team to promote our club in the general media and this year also saw the creation of two new websites (this one and set2celebrate.net).
Set to Celebrate
Our major fund-raising event is “Set to Celebrate”, a 2.5 day event open to the public each November. More than 30 designers transform the Town + County Club with their inspiring table decor and floral displays. We are thankful for the designers’ talents, our visitors and the dedication of our volunteers who enable us to raise funds to continue our civic projects. Tickets available at set2celebrate.net.
Ranging from grand formal gardens to open garden tours or hikes in public parks, these field trips are a great way to view new horizons. Local on-site experts share their insights so these outings are fun and informative.