Past Events & Photos

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Bridgewater Senior Center boxwood tree workshop

Roxbury Senior Center boxwood tree workshop

Prepping for the 2023 boxwood workshops at the senior centers.

The Garden Club was invited to Burnham School’s Harvest Gathering on November 21.  Rudy and Marilyn enjoyed the readings, songs and poems and making decorations with students Maddie, Avery, Sarah and Taylor.

Herbal Presentation and Garden Tour  At our July meeting member Tammy Vena, a Bioregional Herbalist, gave a slide presentation on Herbal Recipes from Your Garden. She included recipes to remedy colds, coughs, sore throats and minor cuts, scratches and insect bites as well as a variety of cooling and medicinal teas. The following Wednesday several of us were treated to a tour of Tammy’s garden, featuring flowers for us and for the pollinators. In addition to the beautiful beds, Tammy has kept much of her property wild and has found medicinal plants there.


Plant Mart 2022


Easter flower arranging with Adrienne and Joe.

Our annual Boxwood Tree Workshop at the Bridgewater Senior Center (we had one in Roxbury also, but the pics seem to be AWOL)

The Club continued the tradition of decorating over 20 wreaths for town buildings in Bridgewater and Roxbury. However, this year instead of the usual workshop and lunch the wreaths were distributed to members for decorating at home and hanging at the appropriate building. Photo by Rudy

The October 9 “Images” section of The Spectrum featured a photo of the Dorothy Diebold Memorial Garden at the Great Oak Cemetary off Route 67 just north of the Roxbury town hall. Dudley Diebold sponsored the Club’s planning and planting of the garden to honor the memory of his mother, a long-time club member and sponsor. The 3+ acre area highlights a mowed path through a wildflower meadow and includes a gazebo and wetlands walkway. The meadow is a haven for songbirds and pollinator insects, including monarch butterflies. There is also as a shaded path with a stone bench and several planted beds featuring native flowers that was featured with another photo on October 30th.  Photos by Deborah Rose

In September Nancy and Kirsten embarked on a project to refurbish and replant the 210 foot flower bed next to the stone wall in front of the Roxbury Town Hall and Firehouse. Some plants were purchased and many were donated by members, who also contributed by following a watering schedule through September and early October to insure the plants had a good start. The wall includes many pollinator plants and will have interest from Spring through Autumn

Adrienne’s Hydrangea wreath workshop  On Wed., Oct. 10, the RBGC held a floral class for members led by fellow member, Adrienne Caruso.  About twelve members gathered on a crisp and sunny autumn morning at the Roxbury Pavilion to learn how to construct a hydrangea wreath using an assortment of hydrangea varieties gathered from their gardens as well as those donated by members Nancy, Estelle and Adrienne.

Enthusiasm was abundant and there was plenty of laughter and good cheer as everyone tried their best to weave the puffy blooms around their wreath form.  The results were beautiful!  Each and every wreath resulted in an attractive and colorful design.

All designers were pleased with the results and, best of all, we shared a few hours enjoying each other’s company, learning a new skill, and forgot about the pandemic for a couple of hours.

Photos by Deborah P., Estelle and Tamara

Pictures taken by Rudy in July of the Friendship Garden all spiffed up with mulch

Pictures from our Holiday luncheon taken by Rudy.

In December the club held workshops at the Bridgewater and Roxbury Senior Centers where participants fashioned a boxwood tree. Members made a few extras for distribution to shut-ins in both towns. Roxbury photo by Marilyn. Bridgewater photo by Rudy.

At the end of November the club held it’s annual wreath workshop. We decorated over 20 wreaths for all public buildings in Bridgewater and Roxbury. In addition we made baskets of hand-crafted items to accompany a gift certificate to the May Plant Mart for the silent auctions at O Silent Night in Bridgewater and the Holiday Festival in Roxbury.

The club had success with member-made items at the Burnham School Vendor Fair in November – led by our intrepid Marilyn!

The Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club was honored on September 30th by Roxbury First Selectman, Barbara Henry, for their contributions to the community.

The club handled preparation, registration and display of the Flower Exhibit at the Bridgewater Fair. We processed 127 entries, including member entries in the Special for 2018 categories “Three for Tea” and “Wine Bouquet” which won blue ribbons for Audrey and included a whimsical woodland tea by Joyce (we did not do the judging).

Audrey and Joyce with their Bridgewater Fair entries taken by Ceil

The Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club held a dedication celebration for Blue Star Memorial Markers and two Cherokee Princess White Dogwood trees on Thursday, June 14, 2018, Flag Day to honor the individuals who have served, are serving, and will serve in all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The Blue Star Memorial program was started in 1944 by a garden club in New Jersey. The NJGC members decided to honor members of the US Armed Forces by creating a Memorial Sign with a Blue Star dedicated to those currently serving as well as those who had served and would serve our country in the future. They planted 1000 flowering dogwoods along 5 miles of highway in New Jersey designated Blue Star Drive. The program has since been adopted by the Federated Garden Clubs and has spread across the United States with markers on highways, byways, and important locations throughout our country. There are currently 14 or more markers in prominent locations throughout Ct. including Bethel, Danbury, and Brookfield.

The Flag Day event was held first at the Capt. Burnham Homestead on Route 133 in Bridgewater and later at the Diebold Garden on Main Street North in Roxbury.

Adrienne Caruso, chairwoman of Blue Star Memorial Project in town, and Audrey Wilkicki and Ceil Santillo, co-chairwomen of the project, offered welcomes at each ceremony.

First Selectman Curtis Read and Selectman Jim Conway offered the greeting in Bridgewater and Roxbury, respectively.

David Perkins, Bill Baldwin and Mike Chuckta, who are members of the Sons of the American Revolution, presented the colors in both towns.

Each ceremony also included an invocation. The Rev. Robert Woodroofe of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Bridgewater and the Rev. David Peters of Roxbury Congregational Church offered invocations in Bridgewater and Roxbury, respectively.

Reed Woerner and Jamie Feather, students at Burnham School in Bridgewater, raised the flag in Bridgewater.

Numerous special guests attended the ceremonies.

They included Andrea Little, the National Garden Clubs Blue Star and Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Chairwoman who dedicated the Blue Star markers in Brookfield and Milford, of Massachusetts; Inge Venus, president, and Jane Waugh, immediate past president of Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, and Arlene Field and Polly Brooks, first and second vice president, respectively; Carol Steiner, historic/memorial public gardens chairman; Jacqueline Connell, former president of Connecticut and NGC board member, Maria Nahom of New Milford, a former president of Connecticut and former National Garden Club Blue Star Chairman; Krista Fiorini, Connecticut Blue Star and Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Chairman, Blue Star historian and a member of the Bethel Garden Club; New Milford Mayor Pete Bass; and special bugler Jeffrey McBreairty, who represented the New Milford American Legion.

Krista Fiorini offered history about the Blue Star Memorial Marker, and a military tribute was presented by McBreairty.

The dedication of the markers was made by Little, and Marnee Straiton, president of the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club, accepted the markers.

In Bridgewater, the Burnham School chorus, conducted by teacher Jennifer Doiron, performed “This Land Is Your Land” and the Burnham School Orchestra performed “Yankee Doodle.”

In Roxbury, the Booth Free School third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students, conducted by teacher Jacob Bartfiedl, sang “This Land is Your Land.”

The Hilltop Singers from Bridgewater Senior Center, led by Jean Kavanek, sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America” at both ceremonies.

Hammond and Peters offered the benediction in Bridgewater and Roxbury, respectively.

McBreairty played taps.

Adrienne Caruso, a master gardener of the Roxbury/Bridgewater Garden Club, was a guest teacher in the art room last month. The focus of her program was Anisoptera odonata, or more commonly, the dragon fly. To assist her, Adrienne brought along her RBGC friends Miss Nina, Mr. Rudy, and Miss Nicole, an avid bug collector. Students learned why the dragon fly is considered a beneficial insect in the garden, as well as listened to a song filled with fun dragon fly facts written and performed by Adrienne, herself. She then guided the students on how to draw and watercolor a dragon fly painting. The artwork of each student will be framed and put on display for all to enjoy at the town library in August.  – Jane Manley

Garden Therapy Roxbury was held on December 7th at the Roxbury Senior Center. 22 seniors created lovely holiday centerpieces.

2017 will be RBGC’s last effort to decorate at Osborne House. The theme this year is A Night at The Opera. We decorated the studio using the Opera Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner. The room is filled with gold and fantasy. This is a story like Lord of the Rings. The ring is a theme that carries the plot

The Garden Club was invited to Bridgewater’s Burnham Elementary School Harvest Gathering held on November 20. Several members attended and enjoyed presentations by the Kindergarten/First/Second classes and a very impressive “America the Beautiful” in sign language by the Third/Fourth/Fifth classes. After the program refreshments were served and the children and guests made a corn ear decoration.

The club was represented at Bridgewater’s 2017 Trunk or Treat with a trunk themed “Feed the Birds, not the Bear”. The trunk featured the flowers which can be left in the garden without deadheading to provide food for the birds until the bears go to sleep and we can put out the feeders. The graveyard featured famous people with bird names. There was a continuous soundtrack of growling bears, and from time to time the “bear” jumped out from behind the haystack. In addition to treats, kids received a packet of black oil sunflower seeds and a list of flowers to leave standing in the garden. This won the “Spirit of Bridgewater” prize!

Congratulations to the team of Marilyn, Joyce, Barbara, Wanda and Rudy for winning First Prize in the adult division for their 2016 Trunk or Treat entry! They did a great job! Thanks to Rudy for the photo.


RBGC helped decorate Osborne House for the holidays again this year. The theme is gem stones. Our gem is peridot and we decorated the dining room. Sharon, Adrienne, and Ann W. decorated. Marilyn provided the information describing the gem. We used items from club members to complete our design.

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 The Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club participated in the Federated Garden Club of Connecticut’s Native Oak Tree Project and celebrated our Centennial Year by planting two pin oak trees. One tree was given to Roxbury and planted at Hurlburt Park near the pavilion. The other tree was given to Bridgewater and planted near the Burnham Library.  Fran Bednar, Arthur Wallander, and Ceil Santillo were instrumental in completing this project. Scott Melatti [proprietor] and Dave Richardson [manager] of Scott’s Nursery provided invaluable help in choosing and planting the trees. By planting these native oak trees, which are also the Connecticut state tree, we are increasing the forest canopy in Connecticut, supporting local wildlife, and beautifying our communities. These beautiful trees will shade our towns for the next 100 years.

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Here are some photos taken by Rudy of the Friendship Garden looking spiffy after a fresh weeding on August 5.

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The second Sunflower Botanical Watercolor Exhibit took place in August at the Burnham Library with a reception on Saturday, Aug. 6.  On display were the renderings  by the Kindergarten to Fifth Grade Burnham children painted during a workshop sponsored by our club’s Youth Committee last November.  Everyone enjoyed cookies, lemonade, and their creative works! Photos by Rudy and Jean the Burnham Children’s Librarian.

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The RBGC will sponsor a Children’s Art Show at each town’s library as part of the 100th Anniversary of the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club. The first was held at the Minor Memorial library in Roxbury with a reception on July 7th. On display were the framed Sunflower Watercolor Paintings created by the Kindergarten through Fifth grade children of Booth Free Schools during a Botanical Illustration Class workshop.  During each 40 minute class held in November of 2015, the children learned “Fun Facts” about our native sunflowers, the history of Botanical Illustration, and watercolor techniques using watercolor paint and watercolor pencils. The show at Burnham library will be in August.

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In April the club kicked off its Centennial Celebration with an Information Fair held at the Roxbury Town Hall.

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Burnham Students placed First in State of Ct. Woodsey Owl Poster Contest sponsored by the FGC.  Winners are pictured with RBGC Youth Chair, Adrienne Caruso and St. of Ct. Youth Chair, Inge Venus.  Fourth Grader, Aidia Peterson (left photo) and Third Grader, Flynn Carney (right photo) were awarded a certificate of recognition and a book for their winning posters.  the recognition ceremony took place on Sunday afternoon, April 24, 2016 at 5:00PM in Cheshire, Conn.

Aidia Peterson - 4th grade poster winnerFlynn Carney 3rd grade poster winner

The Friendship Garden was conceived, organized, and designed by Past President Sharon Faanes and Youth Committee members Dr.Peter Jameson and Joe and Adrienne Caruso. It was installed in May of 2010 and is located on the RT. 133 between the Bridgewater Library and Burnham school. The plan was designed to provide visual interest, texture, and color throughout the year. It is used as an outdoor classroom and play area for the children and is a focal point in the community. The Garden is tended by the Civic Beautification Committee members. These photos by member Rudy Simari, taken in April of 2016, show the garden’s array of over 600 daffodils which were planted by the RBGC members and the children of Burnham school. The RBGC was awarded a Youth Certificate of Achievement for this project from the Federated Garden Clubs of Ct. in 2011.

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This year the theme of the Osborne Homestead Museum was Connecticut agriculture and animal husbandry.  Our club decorated the milk room and the porch, and the topic was, appropriately, cows.



2015 Awards Brunch

2015 Horticulture Award – Audrey Wilkicki
2015 Daffodil Trophy – Sharon Faanes
2015 Dahlia Trophy – Nancy German

Youth Committee and Garden Therapy Committee were both presented with Federated Garden Clubs’ Awards of Excellence

Daffodil Award Federation Award #1 Federation Award #2 RBGC Trophies_ Some Awardees

October Workshop at the Roxbury Senior Center 

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Flower Arranging with Gary Z

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Propagation of Cacti and Succulents

Club Scholarship winner Emily Alworth provided the program for our July meeting. Emily presented an abbreviated version of her Shepaug High School senior project – propagation of cacti and succulents and their display in pots thrown and decorated by her – combining her interest in botany and art. Emily is currently attending Sarah Lawrence college.

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Amanda Chase’s “Something to Crow About” Dahlias

On August 16 the club received a very warm welcome from Amanda Chase to her beautiful Cornwall dahlia nursery. There are more types and colors than you can imagine and Amanda provided lots of tips on growing and storing these lovely flowers.

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On July 16 members visited Natureworks organic gardening center in Northford, CT. We were treated to a talk and guided tour by owner and landscape designer Nancy DuBrule-Clemente. It’s amazing what can be grown and displayed in just one acre. One of the center’s projects is raising and releasing monarch butterfly caterpillars. There is a lot of information on the philosophy and services on their website

Be sure not to miss the upcoming daffodil display that the club planted with 500 bulbs in 2009 at the Bridgewater Vista Preserve on 133. (It’s on the right as you travel south towards the bridge – past Sarah Sanford and before Stuart Rd. W. – look for the sign.)

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Southbury Road/Church Street Triangle Planting 2014

The club planted the three trees, Carolina Silver Bells (Halesia carolina L.), for their beauty, lovely white bell-shaped flowers and the trees’ slow growth rate. Also the seeds are eaten by squirrels and the flowers provide nectar for bees. An ancient azalea was left in place and trimmed to good health. Ann W. and Sharon planted bulbs. David Gardener donated seven more young azalea bushes to finish off the circle.

triangle planting

RBGC Members Decorate at the Osborne Homestead Museum

Ann Wagner, Sharon Faanes, Barbara Lang, and Adrienne Caruso stepped up to the challenge of decorating the colorful blue, white, and yellow Master Bedroom at the Osborne Homestead Museum for the Christmas Holidays. The theme for 2014 was “Holiday at the Symphony”. The specific theme assigned to the Master Bedroom was “Chorus”. The club will be participating for the tenth year in 2015. The new theme is “Animals”. The club will decorate the Milk Room, Pantry and Porch, with the specific theme “Cows”.

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Decorating the Towns

In early December the club held a wreath workshop where we made 21 wreaths and 2 swags for public buildings in Roxbury and Bridgewater.


Youth Committee Project:  November 2014 at Booth and Burnham Schools

This fall the Youth Committee held Botanical Watercolor classes for the Grammar School children of Booth School in Roxbury and Burnham School in Bridgewater.    The Youth Committee held the workshops in the Art Room from 9:15 AM to 12:30 PM on Nov. 6 at Booth School and Nov. 17 at Burnham School. The class began with a discussion of why and how the leave change color in the fall and the function of the leaves as the tree’s food factory.  The children were engaged and animated during the discussion and shared their knowledge of photosynthesis and stories of the trees and colored leaves at their homes.  Following the discussion, the children observed a detailed demonstration of how to draw a leaf or group of leaves using the templates and watercolor paints provided.  The Botanical Watercolor techniques fascinated the children as they learned to mix their colors in the palettes and experimented with the use of water and paint to create attractive patterns replicating those found in Nature.  The RBGC framed and carefully wrapped each child’s painting and distributed them to the respective schools.  These paintings will be each child’s surprise gift to their families and friends on Thanksgiving.


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Floral Arrangement Class at the Roxbury Senior  Center October 17, 2014

The Garden Therapy Committee hosted a floral arrangement class at 1:00 PM on Friday, October 17th at the Roxbury Senior Center. Twenty area seniors, including First Selectwoman Barbara Henry and her mom, Barbara Sr., had a wonderful time creating an asymmetrical fresh floral arrangement.  The flowers used included stunning Fugi mums in bronze and acid green.  The arrangements were complimented with Salal leaves, Huckleberry, and dark green moss.This lively group meets three times a year to learn various aspects of floral design.  They are an ambitious and fun loving group and these workshops are always well attended. The next workshop will be held on December 13th and will feature a colorful vase arrangement.

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Planting of a River Birch at the Bridgewater Senior Center

This river birch was planted at the Bridgewater Senior Center as part of the Federated Garden Club of Connecticut’s program to encourage planting native trees. Left to right, Marilyn Curtin, Director of the Center; Curtis Read, Bridgewater First Selectman; and Jere Hollister of the Garden Club.


Garden Therapy in Bridgewater


Bridgewater Fair

Many members and their spouses, children and grandchildren participated in the Bridgewater Fair. Before the fair Adrienne Caruso and Chris Hora spruced up the flowers on the green and at the firehouse. Entries for flowers and vegetables were from Joyce Rannestad, Marilyn Mehr, Fran Bednar (first prize winner in the Wild West flower arrangement for the cowboy boot with snake and birds), Ann Wagner, Ann Tymon, Sharon Faanes, Audrey Wilkicki and Jane Storrs. Jean Kavanek won a first prize for her color photograph (how did she get that little critter to sit still?). Wendy Jones, Jane Storrs, Rudy Samari, Chris Hora, Estelle Mackenzie, Carl Dill, Audrey Wilkicki and Ann Harvey all worked the church or fire department concessions. Our most decorated participant – Joyce who marched in the parade, worked the fire department auxiliary’s cake wheel and won first prizes for her Norwegian wedding cake and for the Rannestad family hat collection. – submitted by Marilyn

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August 14 Garden Tour
The club toured The Lake House on Arrowhead Point on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield. When the owners purchased the house in 1993 there were no gardens, simply a few established lilacs, specimen trees and flowering bushes. They have been working with the property’s New England roots and more recently with the influence of Italian and French gardens which they visit each year. The grounds now include a medicinal herb garden, an Italian courtyard, a water garden and many heirloom plants, some from their grandmothers‘ gardens. Their hydrangeas have won prizes at the Bridgewater Fair and their volcanic rock planter took first place at the 2013 fair. The garden is charming and features beautiful seating areas among the plants. The house features a lake view, so lunch at Down the Hatch was perfect. – submitted by Marilyn

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