Last spring, the New Canaan Garden Club held a successful plant sale fundraiser and instructional planting activity for children at Irwin Park Barn. Club members were on hand to provide assistance with selecting plants and advising on best planting practices. Open to the public for the first time, the barn is part of the 36 acre park which is a vibrant community gathering place for walking, jogging and exercising dogs on its environmentally friendly Flexi-Pave trails.
The New Canaan Garden Club manages ongoing conservation and beautification projects at Irwin including the addition of 44,000 daffodils and 42 trees. According to Irwin Park Committee Co-Chair Judy Neville, “As stewards of this varied habitat, we continue our efforts to sustain the rich biodiversity of Irwin by adding plantings and trees to help protect the environment and the endangered Monarch Butterfly. Butterflies represent the essence of nature; freedom, beauty and peace. Irwin park provides an opportunity for people of all ages in our community to enjoy the changing seasons and connect with nature."
An important civic project for the New Canaan Garden Club since 2005, Irwin Park provides social, health and environmental benefits for residents of the town of New Canaan and those from neighboring communities.
As a Provisional Member of the New Canaan Garden Club and a Board Member of New Canaan Meals on Wheels, Stephanie Radman initiated a new program which adds joy to the lives of some of our town’s residents through “Flowers on Wheels.” Twice a month from April through October, Meals on Wheels clients receive flowers from the gardens of Garden Club members that are arranged and delivered with the meals. According to Radman, “Meals on Wheels clients are delighted to receive our simple, but lovely floral gifts. This is a donation from our hearts that makes a difference to some of the individuals in our fabulous community.”
Meals on Wheels of New Canaan has been providing nutritious meals to town residents in need since 1972. Sometimes the only person that a client will see all day is the Meals on Wheels Driver. One client said “I love flowers and it makes me so happy to receive them. I take care of them so they last as long as possible.”
Flowers on Wheels is the New Canaan Garden Club’s latest civic commitment which includes maintaining Waveny Walled Garden, beautification projects in Irwin Park, and supporting conservation efforts in New Canaan. In addition, Garden Club members provide horticultural therapy at Waveny Care Center which, like Flowers on Wheels, brings flowers and plants to some of our residents who are not always able to enjoy New Canaan’s beautiful public spaces.
At its December holiday party, the New Canaan Garden Club raised $3,000 which was donated to the Department of Health and Human Services for the town’s Food Pantry and Warm-Up Fund. The Food Pantry makes its largest distribution during the holidays with between 120 and 190 individuals accessing the food bank every two weeks. Many of the people who use the food bank also benefit from the Warm-Up Fund which helps with heating and shut off notices.
Continuing a long history of holiday civic projects, the New Canaan Garden Club also decorated trees for the town Holiday Stroll and assembled festive miniature arrangements for delivery through Meals on Wheels. The club worked with another organization to make large wreaths that decorated many of the town’s public buildings helping to create a cheerful atmosphere for residents and visitors.
From left to right: Catharine Sturgess, New Canaan Garden Club Holiday Stroll Chair, Carol McDonald, Director New Canaan Health and Human Services,
Ellen Zumbach, New Canaan Garden Club President, and
Kevin Moynihan, New Canaan First Selectman