Sunday, December 15, 2013

GCFM Winter Interlude Fundraiser

Mark your calendars...the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts will be holding a fundraising event on Saturday, February 1, 2014.  "Winter Interlude will be a cocktail party featuring The Wonderful World of Floral Design.  Enjoy a delightful afternoon walking through a wonderland of floral designs as you feast on delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while listening to live music in a beautiful ballroom highlighted by antique stained glass windows."  

Saturday, February 1, 2014
3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
The Beechwood Hotel
363 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 

All designs and more will be raffled at 6:00 pm.

Donation $50.00; Cash Bar
A portion of your donation is tax deductible

For tickets call: Bonni Asbjornson at 978-692-8685 or email at

For information call: Joyce Bakshi at 978-470-0263 or email at

Other GCFM Save-the-Date Events in 2014:

Floral Fantasy” with Marie –Francoise Deprez
Award-winning designer, author, international judge, & world-renowned teacher

May 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM
 Regis College Fine Arts Center, Weston, MA
 Tickets $15; $20 after 1/1/14
GCFM Annual Meeting

June 4, 2014 

Guest speaker: President Linda Nelson from the National Garden Club

Change in venue to:
Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough, MA
Room rate is $109.00 until May 4, 2014

For more information on any event, please visit the GCFM's website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Welcoming the Holiday Season

Outside the Dracut Public Library

The morning after Thanksgiving, several members of the Dracut Garden Club were out decorating the town for the holidays.  Each year we spruce up (pun intended : ) the Dracut Public Library and Town Hall with wreaths, garland, and fresh arrangements for the enjoyment of our community.  We hope you enjoy decorating your home & yard this holiday season too.  Whether it's finding items at a store or taking advantage of materials from your own yard, like Jill's arrangement above, have fun!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Successful Signature Drive to Update the Bottle Bill

On the heels of America Recycles Day (Nov. 15th), we just got word from our friends at the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) that the signature drive to Update the Bottle Bill was a success!  For over 10 years, organizations such as ELM,  the Sierra Club and of course, the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, have been urging the Mass. legislature to put the Update to a vote.  The legislature fails to do this each year, so a citizen's initiative to get the Update on the 2014 ballot was the next step.  This would be no easy task, however, since we needed to get 100,000 petition signatures in about 3 weeks.

The collaborative network of 100+ organizations did not get 100,000 signatures-- we got 130,000!  This great news means that the Bottle Bill initiative will proceed to another smaller and easier signature drive in May, then it will go on the Nov. 2014 ballot.  

Not sure what the Bottle Bill is?  Here's a summary from our friends at the Massachusetts Sierra Club:

"The Bottle Bill is the state's most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since the Bottle Bill's passage in 1983, over 35 billion containers have been redeemed, contributing to a healthier environment, cleaner and safer communities, and a stronger economy.

An Updated Bottle Bill would expand our container deposit system to include "new age" drinks such as non-carbonated beverages, water, iced tea, juice, and sports drinks which are currently not covered. It would decrease litter and increase recycling. An estimated 3.3 Billion beverages are consumed annually in Massachusetts, of which 1/3 are "new-age" (e.g. water, sports drinks, flavored teas), and this number is only expected to increase. As consumers purchase more of these beverages, an increasing number of containers are finding their way to landfills and by the sides of our roads. To keep up with the times and consumers' tastes, the bottle bill must be updated.

Every year that we delay action, 1.5 BILLION containers litter our parks and our streets, or get trucked to our landfills -- more than enough to overflow Fenway Park.

Despite huge public support, the legislature has failed to act for over 10 years. We've therefore decided to put this on the ballot.

Read more about the Bottle Bill at"
Member communication authorized by the Massachusetts Sierra Club

Thanks to all our members who participated in the signature drive and to those who signed petitions.  The Dracut Garden Club helped collect almost 200 signatures!  It was as simple as asking family, friends, & neighbors, and a couple of us petitioned outside of Market Basket in Lowell : )  When 2014 rolls arounds, you can bet we'll be helping to "get out the vote" for next November's election.  To stay informed or get involved, please check out the Massachusetts Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill.


image credit:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What does a gardener do at this time of year in our climate?

Plant amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs for indoor display.  If you've never done that let me say, it's simple!  Typically I buy these at the supermarket.  They come complete with a pot, soil or planting medium, the bulb and instructions.  With an amaryllis bulb, you should leave about 1/3 of the bulb above the soil line.  Usually it takes 8-10 weeks for it to flower, but it's worth the wait.  A splash of color from a live plant in the middle of winter is so welcomed!

Paperwhite bulbs are smaller, bloom sooner, and usually come 3-5 in a package.  They can be set in a bed of river rocks if you wish, since they don't really need soil to grow.  The flowers are really fragrant.  Some people love that aroma while others find it off-putting, so perhaps it's not ideal for a dining room centerpiece, but great in the living room.  When they finish blooming, just toss them out as they will not rebloom next year.

Amaryllis bulbs can be kept and grown for another season, but I haven't had much luck with that. I've gotten new leaves, but no flower stalk. Perhaps those of you with a greener thumb than mine will have success. To me, it's just easier to buy a new bulb next fall.
If you have non-gardening friends, you could start a bulb now and give it as a holiday gift. I'm sure they will enjoy it.  


Amaryllis bulbs
Image credit:  easytogrowbulbs

Paperwhite accents
Image credit:  houzz

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Greening Our Cleaning

Just start.  Make a wiser choice.  Little changes.  Inspiring and motivational words heard at last night's event.  The Dracut Garden Club had a fun and enlightening meeting as we listened to guest speaker, Kristi Marsh, founder of Choose Wiser, and author of Little Changes:  Tales of a Reluctant Home Eco-momics Pioneer.  Kristi took us on a roller coaster ride of emotions as she told her story:  a busy stay-at-home-mom of three young children who suddenly finds herself battling breast cancer, the research she did while she was recovering, and the result of her findings-- choosing wiser.

An audible gasp was heard from the audience when she told us of the American Cancer Society's statistics:  

1 in 3 women will develop cancer in her lifetime

1 in 2 men will develop cancer in his lifetime

Kristi Marsh had no family history of breast cancer.  There are many reasons why one may develop cancer, and environmental exposure to carcinogens in our air, food, and many products we use, is certainly one of them.  When we expose ourselves to chemicals in large or small amounts, and in various types of products, we are creating a "toxic stew" as Kristi refers to it in her book.  "[Consisting of] repeated, cumulative, and interacting exposures."

Kristi and her organization encourage us to start making changes- no matter how small- and wiser choices when it comes to our cleaning products, personal care items, and the foods we consume.  She recommends choosing organic foods when possible, and personal care items that do not contain parabens, phthalates, or fragrance.  Many major retailers now sell items that are free of these harmful chemicals (e.g. Target, CVS,, & Look for household cleaners that are chlorine, ammonia, and fragrance-free as well.  Or better yet, make your own "green" cleaners-- you'll know exactly what's in them and you'll save money.  

After Kristi's inspiring presentation, we made 3 all-natural products to take home:  a household sink scrub, a window cleaner, and a (kind) weed killer.  These items were easy and fun to make plus they cost only pennies per jar of finished product.  We encourage you to try out these DIY recipes and see what you think!


For more information and inspiring content, please check out Choose Wiser, Women's Voices for the Earth, & Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Kristi Marsh sharing her journey with us

Simple & effective DIY cleaner ingredients:  baking soda, vinegar, castile soap & water

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Green and Clean

The Dracut Garden Club is honored to have Kristi Marsh, founder of and author of Little Changes: Tales of a Reluctant Home Eco-momics Pioneer, as our guest speaker at this month's meeting. Kristi's organization is dedicated to educating women about the interaction between environmental toxins and their health, and empowering them to become more conscious consumers.

Kristi's "Deliciously Green and Clean" presentation will show us why we want to "choose wiser", how to identify starting point ingredients to replace in our homes, and she'll show us how to make a natural Cream Scrub, Window Cleaner, and Weed Killer.  (Please bring 3 empty glass jars with lids if you wish to take home these products.)

The presentation will be on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 from 7 - 9 pm at the Parker Memorial Library, 28 Arlington Street, Dracut, MA.  Open to the public for a donation of $10.

We hope you can join us as we learn how to save money while protecting our health and that of our family & friends. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arbor Day Award

For the 5th time, The Dracut Garden Club has received The Charlotte Lane Connor Arbor Day Award from The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.  We are honored to have once again received this award for the celebration, tree planting, and tree saplings we donated at our Celebrate the Earth 2013 event.  A silver bowl was presented to our Club President, Donna Vallois, at the GCFM Fall Conference on October 23, 2013.  This award is presented annually to the GCFM club that conducts the most outstanding Arbor Day tree planting ceremony.  We are proud of how hard our club members work at the Earth Day / Arbor Day event and at all of our events each year.  We appreciate the recognition from our Federation, especially as we start planning Celebrate the Earth 2014!

The Charlotte Lane Connor Arbor Day Award, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Marathon Daffodils

The Dracut Garden Club, along with the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and many others, supports our Boston community in the "Marathon Daffodils" event.  The goal is to plant daffodils along the 26.2 mile route, so they'll be in bloom for the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Donations and volunteers are welcome-- at any age, any level of gardening experience.  Please visit Marathon Daffodils or see below for more information.

Press Release

For Immediate release:

Boston…August 13, 2013 – Marathon Daffodils is a collaboration of nonprofit organizations, gardeners, cities and towns, organizations, businesses, and citizens interested in preserving the spirit of the Boston Marathon and Boston Strong, while embracing the tradition of celebrating the arrival of Spring to Boston.

Some of Massachusetts top horticultural organizations, partnering with communities and volunteers plan to plant daffodils along the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon route, to create a new event “Marathon Daffodils.” Tower Hill Botanic Garden, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, The Garden Club Federation, The Town of Brookline Parks, The Charles River Conservancy and other groups have agreed to collaborate. The goal is to raise $1000 per mile for a total of $26,500 from Hopkinton to Boston.

“We want to do something to lift the spirits of the community, in support of Boston Marathon 2014 and Boston Strong,” said Diane Valle, volunteer and organizer.

“We are excited to participate,” said Kathy Abbott, Executive Director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, “because we believe Marathon Daffodils represent Spring and rebirth. This is a great community building opportunity.”

Plans include outreach to supporters and volunteers from young to old; and novices to Master Gardeners; to plant daffodils. “Marathon Daffodil” donations are welcome, sent to The Cooperative Bank, 201 Main Street, Charlestown, MA 02129.

“With the support of the communities, the planting of daffodils is to commence in October and continue through December, along the route, and hopefully throughout our communities,” said Kathy Thomas, Past Garden Club Federation President and horticultural activist.

Volunteers are welcome.

For more information:

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Grouchy Ladybug Comes to Life...

Arrangement & photo by Kristin McCauley flowers!  Inspired by Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug, DGC member Kristin McCauley created this adorable arrangement for the upcoming "Books in Bloom" project with the Dracut Library.  Anyone is welcome to participate in the event.  Just pick up an entry form at the library's Circulation Desk, then drop-off your arrangement between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on Thursday, 9/12.  Ribbons will be awarded on Friday, 9/13 from 6-7 pm at the library.  For more info, visit Books in Bloom or the Dracut Library.

And don't forget to check out Kristin's arrangement on display in the Children's Room : )

Friday, September 6, 2013

13th Annual Dracut Old Home Day

Who doesn't love a good raffle?  Well, the Dracut Garden Club is going to be raffling off THREE beautiful, interesting, and useful baskets at the 13th annual Dracut Old Home Day.  Our ever-changing gift baskets are a hit every year as well as being a successful fundraiser for our club.  This year we'll have a Bulb Basket, School Supply Basket, and a Holiday Basket. All timely and useful as autumn is fast-approaching, and rest assured, it will be a beautiful presentation in DGC style.

The event takes place at the Dracut High School Complex, 1580 Lakeview Ave, rain or shine. Please stop by our table tomorrow, September 7th from 9 AM - 4 PM, and try your raffle luck! 

The Orpha Fox Memorial Garden at the Oliver J. Colburn House, built circa 1790

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August's meeting-- All About Butterflies

Painted lady caterpillars, short life cycles, and the "must have" Butterfly bush were all topics of conversation at our August meeting.  The founder/owner of The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA was our guest speaker that evening.  He brought caterpillars, a butterfly hatching kit, and 30 years of experience growing plants that attract butterflies.  Some of these plants include lantana, heliotrope, bee balm, lilacs, pentas, and of course, Butterfly bush!

More photos from the August meeting here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Books in Bloom

Next month we'll be teaming up with The Friends of the Dracut Library to create floral arrangements inspired by select books.  Whether they remind you of the title, book jacket, or theme of the book, the floral displays are sure to delight.  Please join us on Friday, 9/13 from 6-7 pm at the Dracut Library to view our "Books in Bloom".  All are welcome to participate.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July's Meeting...Garden Tour & Social

A great time was had by all at our July meeting-- hosted by our 1st VP, Juanita. We had a tour of her beautiful & extensive gardens, a potluck social + a Christmas in July sale & raffle. A little rain doesn't stop the DGC!

More pics of the beautiful gardens here...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Our latest civic development project...

The Dracut Garden Club was asked to beautify the grounds of our Central Fire Station before the Memorial Day Parade, so we got right to it!  A group of members planted flowers along the front walkway, accented the monument, and filled planters that were placed between each set of engine access doors.  This will be another annual Civic Development project for our club.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Plants! Get Your Plants Here!

Next up... our 4th annual Plant Sale!  We hope you can stop by the lawn of the Dracut Historical Society on Saturday, June 1st.  We'll be there from 9 AM - 12 PM selling a variety of annuals, perennials, and other garden goodies...

Rain date:  Sat. 6/8

Also, Dracut's Household Hazardous Waste Day has been rescheduled to Sat. 6/1 from 8 AM -12 PM at the Dillon Center Public Works Yard.  You can green up your home and support your town by cleaning out your hazardous materials, then buying some new plants for your garden : )

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Art in Bloom at Museum of Fine Arts

As always, it's a challenge when we are assigned an Asian piece of art.  This year we had a framed set of five Japanese woodblock prints.  They were very colorful visions of ladies of the pleasure quarter parading down the main street in their new finery on New Year's Day.  Laurel and I made a container by gluing red bamboo onto a plastic window box since we had a large pedestal that would hold the arrangement.  We chose yellow spider mums to represent their headpieces and added red glads and red spider orchids to mirror the reds in the prints.  We added pine, bamboo, and flowering quince as symbols of the New Year in Japan.  

The arrangement was well-received by both museum people and the general public.  If you did not get to see it at the MFA, I hope you had a chance to view it at the Dracut Public Library.  It was there for a week or so, but sadly looked a little droopy by the end.  As we all know, fresh flowers don't last forever.

--Mary Jo 

DGC members at the 37th annual Art in Bloom

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yard Sale!

On Saturday, May 18th stop by to peruse the Dracut Garden Club's yard sale. There'll be some great finds for your home and garden. We'll be there from 9 - 3, but come early for the best stuff!

Rain date: Sunday, 5/19

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Teach Your Children Well

Newly planted flower seeds from Celebrate the Earth 2012

Excited about her seedlings which had sprouted within a week : )

Let's show our children how important and fun it is to celebrate the earth everyday!  They deserve to live in a safe and beautiful world along with plants and wildlife.  Children are so eager to help, explore, and do the right thing-- they are the future stewards of the environment.  Celebrate the Earth 2013 is a great way to kick-off spring, school vacation week, and learn how to take small steps that will have a big impact on our world.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Celebrate The Earth!

Celebrate The Earth with the Dracut Garden Club

  Saturday, April 13, 2013

10 AM - 12 PM

Veterans' Memorial Park (behind the Dracut Post Office)

Rain location:  Harmony Hall at the Dracut Historical Society, 1660 Lakeview Ave.

2013's Theme:  

The impact of climate change & making better choices for our future

Kick-off to our Community Cleanup Week

Saturday, 4/13 through Sunday, 4/21

Please help us beautify our town and protect our plants & wildlife by collecting roadside trash in your neighborhood and throughout town.  Free cleanup kits (bright yellow trash bags & latex-free gloves) will be available for free the day of the event and all week at: Almo's Flower & Garden Center, Dracut Hardware, the Dracut Library, and the Dracut Fire Department on Pleasant St.  The first 100 families to sign-up at the Earth Day event will receive a high-quality re-usable shopping bag from ChicoBag.  It's as easy as cleaning up your own street.  Every bag counts!

**During cleanup remember:

Be Safe... Have Supervision...Wear Gloves & Proper Clothing...Watch Out For Poison Ivy!!

Small E-Waste & Mercury Recycling

This year we'll be collecting small electronics for recycling, specifically:

  • cell phones (inc. smartphones), iPods, digital cameras, laptops, keyboards/ mice/ webcams
  • We are only collecting the specific items above.  Please do not bring any larger electronics, such as TV's, desktop computers, monitors, etc.  We will not be able to recycle these items ourselves.  Recycling options available at:  Dracut Household Hazardous Waste Info.

We'll also be collecting small items for Dracut's Mercury Recovery Program, such as:

  •  CFL bulbs, glass thermometers, thermostats, & NiCad, button, zinc & lithium batteries (no alkaline batteries produced after 1994 accepted)

**If you forget to bring these items to Celebrate the Earth, you can bring them to Dracut's Household Hazardous Waste Day on April 27, 2013, or the Board of Health at the Town Hall Annex anytime!

Event Highlights

Inspiring Guest Speakers:

Colleen Garry, MA State Representative to proclaim 4/13/13 as Arbor Day in Dracut

Heidi Kost-Gross, President of The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc., will speak briefly on the importance and progress of the Updated Bottle Bill.

Matt Zettek, Dracut Recycling Coordinator, will discuss Dracut's upcoming Automated Trash Collection Program & the importance of recycling.  He'll also have an example of the new trash cart.

Dave Dumaresq, owner of Farmer Dave's, will speak briefly about "making better choices for the future of our climate and our world".

Ceremonial Tree Planting in Veterans' Memorial Park

Crafts & Activities for Children

  • Flower Seed Planting and Container Decorating with the Girl Scouts
  • Make Your Own Bird Feeder with the Jr. Garden Club
  • Face Painting
  • Green Story time & Coloring
  • Free Snacks & Beverages 

Educational Exhibits & Demonstrations

Plus, free tree seedlings, free compost, and great raffle prizes!!  This will be a great way to spend a couple of hours having fun, learning, and celebrating with your community. We hope to see you there!

We appreciate the support and generosity from all of our event supporters, including: