And so it grows...

Watertown Garden Club

WGC Newsletters
February 2017


National Pollinator Week

Master Gardener Symposium

Celebrating Connecticut's Landscape

Saving our Trees

Native Plants

Sustainable Gardening

Bring Back Pollinators




  • Neonicotinoid Risk Assessment 1/12/17 ACTION NEEDED - SEE BELOW

  • EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment For Release: January 12, 2017 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which we published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects. The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar. The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register, which will happen soon. The EPA invites public comment on all of these preliminary assessments, but we are especially interested in getting input from stakeholders on the new method for assessing potential exposure and risk through pollen and nectar. EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received as well as additional data that we anticipate receiving during 2017. We hope to release the final neonicotinoid risk assessments for public comment by mid-2018. Along with the risk assessments, the EPA is also issuing an updated registration review schedule for the four neonicotinoids to reflect the data being submitted in 2017.

    EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the dockets for the neonicotinoid pesticides and sign up for email alerts to be automatically notified when the Agency publishes the next documents for review and comment. View the neonicotinoid registration review schedule for links to the individual dockets. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

  • National Pollinator Week - June 29-25, 2017

  • National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them. Ten years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 19-25, 2017 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior. (POLLINATOR WEEK WAS INITIATED AND IS MANAGED BY THE POLLINATOR PARTNERSHIP)
  • 2016 Celebrating Connecticut's Landscape: Fall Foliage Tour

  • Sponsored by CT DEEP. Led by Wildlife Manager, Peter Picone, attendees met at Sessions Woods Wifelife Management Area in Burlington, CT. then visited relevant sites to learn more about maple syrup collection, invasive plant management and New England Cottontail habitats.
  • Connecticut Master Gardener Association

  • The 23nd Annual Gardening Symposium “Gardening Gone Native”. This daylong event, open to the public, was held March 19, 2016 at Connecticut College in New London CT. Opening the day, Art Wolk, revealed his secrets for coaxing bulbs into winter bloom “Bulb Forcing for Beginners and the Seriously Smitten. “ Other opportunities for gardeners included workshop sessions on edible wild plants, sustainable and sensible design for wild gardens, the art of vegetable growing, growing more with less, and native plants for pollinators.
  • Saving our Trees

  • So much to say, so little space. UI and CLP Enhanced Tree Trimming and Enhanced Tree Removal policies were reviewed by PURA. The Final Decision in Docket No. 12-01-10, Tree Trimming, issued June 25, 2014) made significant improvements in its original draft decision of November 19, 2013 and reflected the changes in the law made by Public Act 14-151. PURA must, of course, comply with all relevant state statutes. The place to go for complete information on this issue is the New Haven Garden Club.
  • Native Trees

  • Some of the native trees and shrubs take many years to mature, so be careful what you cut when developing an area. You may be destroying a special plant that could give you many years of carefree growth. Become familiar with the natives in your area.
    Following are some native fruit-bearing plants for the eastern United States:
    • Mulberry (Morus rubra) Leafs out late in the spring. Fruits vary in color from black to red to white and are about the size and shape of a blackberry but are very sweet. Children and adults love to pick them by the handful. Birds plant them for you - they relish these berries.
    • Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis or Sambucus pubens) Both shrubs bear clusters of deep purple to black (S.canadensis) or deep red berries (S.pubens) in mid-summer after flowering in big white clusters. These berries are prized for making elderberry jelly.
    • Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.) This plant in our area is called serviceberry. The plant can be either a tree or shrub and is loaded with white lacy flowers in mid spring, followed by maroon colored berries the size and shape of small blueberries. Birds can quickly strip a tree so it is good to have several planted. The almond-flavored berries are delicious raw but may also be used in place of blueberries in recipes.
    • American Beech (Fagus grandiflora) A large forest tree with smooth grey bark which bears small sweet triangular nuts in the fall. Squirrels love them too.
    • Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) There are many hickories, but this one has the best-tasting nut. It can be used in place of a pecan and is never bitter.
    • Black Locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia) Although not a large tree and grows only where it can receive plenty of sun, its spring bloom fills the air with a sweet fragrance and the bees flock to it. The honey is darker than sourwood honey and has a bolder taste but is still tasty. Since it is a legume, it enriches the soil with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Its blooms resemble large white sweet pees. The tree grows quickly.
  • Sustainable Gardening

  • Past gardening events attended by Watertown Garden Club members highlighted the importance of adopting and promoting sustainable gardening techniques and solutions, including the eradication of invasive species, planting with natives and conservation of resources. Some events are listed below. Additional information can be found on the associated Websites.
    • WGC Presentation, "An Introduction to the Design Science of Permaculture" by Cynthia Rabinowitz, The Hidden Garden & Connsoil LLC, March 13, 2014
    • Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program at Nonnewaug H.S. Adult Ed Class, "Win the Weed War Organically," by Cathy Zbuska, Cathy in the Garden LLC, March 13, 2014
    • Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program At Nonnewaug H.S. Adult Ed Class, "Working with Wetlands on Your Property," by Kyle Turoczi, Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery, March 13, 2014.
    • UCONN Garden Conference, "Conserving Pollinating Insects with Pollinator Friendly Gardening," by Kelly Gill, The Xerces Society, March 21, 2014
    • WGC Presentation, "Sustainable Gardening," by Nancy DuBrule-Clemente, Natureworks, April 10, 2014
  • Conservation of Pollinator Habitat - Bees and Butterflies

  • Pollinators are at risk. As pollinators disappear, the effect on the health and viability of crops and native plant communities can be disastrous. What can you do:
    • Create a diversity of bloom - select native plants and landscape with diverse flower colors, shapes and bloom time
    • Protect Nests and Egg-Laying Sites - leave those brush piles, open sandy ground and old tree stumps. Mow pastures after fledgings have left their nests.
    • Don't Use Pesticides - even "organic-approved" insecticides can harm pollinators and other wildlife. Research first!
  • Neonicotinoid Insecticides

  • Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides that are used widely on farms, as well as around our homes, schools, and city landscapes. They are systemic chemicals, absorbed by the plant and dispersed through plant tissues, including pollen and nectar. They are toxic to bees and many other beneficial insects. When exposed to very small amounts of neonicotinoids, bumble bee colonies grow more slowly and produce fewer new queens, which impacts overall bumble bee populations. Honey bees are also affected by low doses; exposure can impair their ability to fly, navigate and forage for food. A brochure from Xerces with a list of these products can be viewed here.