Breakfast Food Drive 2024

The Rowayton Gardeners are sponsoring their second annual Food Drive to benefit Person to Person March 15 and 16 – last year we donated 1000 pounds of food plus over $1000 in gift cards to purchase groceries and this year we hope to surpass those numbers with suggested items for breakfast (see list below) as well as gift cards to Shop Rite or Stop & Shop. Drop off days at the Rowayton Community Center’s Underground are Friday, March 15 from 3 – 6 pm and Saturday, March 15 from 10 am – 1 pm or simply scan this QR code to make a donation online.

Breakfast items requested include: Oatmeal, cereal, granola or breakfast bars, shelf stable milk, peanut butter, jam, apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas (unripened), pancake mix and pancake syrup.

Please join us in this effort to provide nourishing meals for individuals and families who are food insecure in lower Fairfield County. Any questions, email Julie Griffiths at

March Program Information

The Rowayton Gardeners invite everyone to attend the Thursday, March 7 program “Success with Hydrangeas” with speaker Lorraine Ballato. Lorraine is an expert horticulturist, an instructor at the New York Botanical Gardens and the region’s authority on hydrangeas. Her most recent book, Success with Hydrangeas, is an international best seller. Through slides and discussion, learn all about hydrangeas; including recent introductions of cultivars that are new to the market plus proper care and maintenance for existing hydrangeas. You’ll leave this talk never again, having to ask the question, “Why doesn’t my hydrangea bloom?”

The business meeting begins at 9:30 am and the program runs from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Non-members are welcome to attend this interesting and informative program on “Success with Hydrangeas.

BEE Environmentally Aware: Learn more about Neonic pesticides

There is a strong coalition forming to press Connecticut’s legislature to follow New York State in banning pesticides commonly referred to as “Neonics” (neonicotinoids) for all but certain agricultural uses. The CT Audubon society is hosting an afternoon seminar March 11, available via Zoom (info here). You can learn more about this class of pesticides, why scientists believe Neonics are so dangerous and what we can do about it.

Read about this issue in a two-page fact sheet for those without an afternoon to spare – link here.

February Meeting Recap

It was a full house as members and non-members enjoyed a program by Sefra Alexandra called “The Ecotype Project: Putting the Right Plant in the Right Place” at the Rowayton Community Center.

Sefra Alexandra, an internationally known ethnobotanist who is also known as ‘The Seed Huntress,’ is on a hunt to preserve uncultivated landscapes and transform them into productive habitats by rewilding pollinator corridors. In her presentation, Sefra explored native plants that are grown from an area’s wild-collected seeds and explained the delicacy as well as the diversity of our native habitats.

The Seed Huntress also stressed the importance of choosing the right plant for the right place to sustain birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Sefra has conducted seed conservation field work around the world, fortifying community seed banks on island nations after natural disasters. She is also the coordinator of the Ecoptype Project for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut.

Here she is below with Kathleen Raby, RG Program Committee member (left) and (left to right) Kathleen Raby, Program Committee member, Kevin Tepas, RG Co-Vice President,  Sefra Alexandra and Lisa Lahaussois, RG Co-Vice President.

There was also Eco59 merchandise on display, available on their website:



Campaign to Reduce Use of Gas Blowers: Your Yard, Your Decision

Did you know that gas-powered lawn equipment is endangering our air quality? With 2-stroke engines that do not have pollution controls, this equipment is contributing to air pollutants proven to be detrimental to human health: small particular matter, nitrogen oxides (ozone-forming), excess CO2 as well as toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and 1,3 butadiene.

Fairfield County ranks 28th highest of 3,100 counties in the U.S. for fine particulate matter, 27th for nitrogen oxide and 33rd for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). See this information and more by a non-profit Frontier Group at the link below. You can make a difference!

Read the study at the link here.

January Meeting Recap

The January New Year’s Kick-off Brunch is one of the RGs favorite meetings. Homemade baked goods and savory dishes were contributed by our talented home cooks. Member John Nestro, who is a certified arborist for Davey Tree Company, presented an interesting and informative program on “Tree Preservation.”

John is a certified arborist with The Davey Tree Expert Company and serves as our second Assistant Treasurer, plus he is the committee chair for the Rowayton School Pond. In his presentation, John discussed the importance of tree preservation and soil care. He notes that we are often focused on what the canopy looks like above ground and adds that we tend to overlook the other half of the tree – the roots. John informed us about the hazards that trees face underground and tell us how to mitigate these issues, so that the trees can continue to live long and happy lives.



Need to Know – New Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ” plant hardiness zone map ” was updated Wednesday for the first time in a decade, and it shows the impact that climate change will have on gardens and yards across the country.

Climate shifts aren’t even — the Midwest warmed more than the Southeast, for example. Read more about it via CT Insider here!

Need to Know – National Wildlife Federation Info for Feeding Birds

The National Wildlife Federation has created a cool new tool to help us feed the birds with our choice of plants. Put in your location and find plants. Next to each tree, flower or shrub photo is the number of butterfly and moth species that feed on the plant as caterpillars — yum. We have a lot of power in our own hands to stop the decline of the bird population and fill our yards with color and life. Good Luck!

Here is the link:


November Meeting Recap

Forty members and guests attended this month’s general meeting and program at the Rowayton Community Center. The presentation by Jan Johnsen, principal of Johnsen’s Landscapes and Pools, “Learning from Before and After” was highly informative and inspiring.

Jan Johnsen has been a principal in Johnsen Landscapes and Pools, a landscape design-and-build firm based in Westchester, NY, for more than thirty years. A favorite speaker of our club members, Jan used illustrative before and after photos of various projects which she has executed throughout her career. She shared specific tips, techniques and design possibilities to make-over or enhance your garden.

Attendees received a plant list and were able to participate in a drawing for a copy of one of Ms. Johnsen’s books: Gardentopia (2019) or Floratopia (2021).  After an informative Q and A, her books will be available for purchase and signing. Jan is pictured here with RG Member Charlotte Gannon (left) and RG President Bridget Bennet (right).


Leave the Leaves Campaign

Leaving leaves in your planting beds enriches your soil and gives shelter to overwintering insect larvae essential to birds arriving in Spring. More info found in this article from sourced by RG Margot Epprecht at the link below.  So, “Leaf a Leaf, Plz!”

Read the article at the link here.