Willimantic Public Library Meeting Room
Call to order – 4:05 pm, Barbara Wright, Co-President presiding
In Attendance – Jean deSmet, Barbara Gibson, Faith Kenton, Karrie Kirchner, Susan Newcombe,
Sue Nosal, Jay Osborne, Ursula Roskoski, Patty Spruance, Debbie Stoloff, Carole Williamson, Barbara Wright, Pam Wright.
Minutes of the Board meeting held on 5/30/2023 and the special meeting held on 9/26/2023 ere
unanimously accepted as they had been posted on-line previously for members to access and read.
Financial Report – Garden Club assets as of 10/25/2023 submitted by Budget and Finance Chair Jennifer Duchesne, read by Barbara Wright:
Friends of the GOB checking - $49,282.54
Garden Club Checking - $11,428.78
Garden Club Savings - $8,508.09
Committee Reports –
Membership - Debbie Stoloff reported that there have been about 12 new members during this year; about 17 members have not paid this year’s dues, and the club has a total membership of about 75. Sue Nosal presented a donation check that she had received. Pam Wright suggested adding automatic renewal and payment methods on the website for ease of renewing membership. Barbara Wright will look into the possibility of adding this option.
Wildlife Habitat/Pollinator Pathway - Pam Wright expressed appreciation that the Garden Club
received a wonderful group of volunteers from ECSU’s Day of Caring who helped immensely at the Whitewater Park with weeding, transplanting and spreading compost and wood chips. Work dates will continue to be posted on the website.
Public Spaces - Faith Kenton introduced Karrie Kirchner who works as a garden tender and may be a candidate for working in any of the Garden Club gardens but especially in the High Street Hillside garden, as hiring a worker had been previously suggested. Faith stated that there is not much to report, the High Street Hillside garden has been successfully reclaimed from weeds, ongoing work is required and people are free to work whenever they wish.
Friends of Garden on the Bridge – Jay Osborne stated that the plantings at the GOB look good. He reported that, at the Amp, the pump house spotlight will be replaced by three lights and that wi-fi will be installed. The picnic tables that have been purchased with a grant and donations are due to arrive in late January.
Other Reports -
Urban Forest Grant – Jean deSmet reported that the work on the Urban Forest grant has been
completed. The commission that funded the grant did an inspection and were so pleased that they reimbursed the Garden Club the full $13,000 even though Mike Culbertson and Jean had requested reimbursement of only $9,000. The extra funds will be used to replace four trees that were damaged by beavers over the summer.
Seasonal Lights Project – Carole Williamson reported that the work will not be done this year; she suggested that it would be lovely to make a group field trip after the end of November to Heritage Park on Cape Cod so that other members of the club can view this wonderful lighting display.
Pageau Trust Grant – Faith Kenton reported that the work at the High Street Hillside garden is on-going, weeds are under control for the time being due to much wonderful volunteer help, but continuing work is needed to maintain control. She has drafted a grant proposal to submit to the
Pageau Trust to request financial assistance with future upgrades and maintenance in that garden. Fine-tuning the grant proposal is in progress. Suggestions have been made for various methods to keep control of weeds. One of these is to use a product called Natria, handouts were given for people to read about this product and Yves Kraus will be available at ECSU for a question and answer session about chemical use in the garden – dates to be determined. Another suggestion is to lay down cardboard and wood chips. Any donations of cardboard and labor are greatly appreciated.
Action Items -
Holiday Lights: Motion was made to create an ad hoc Holiday Lights committee with Carole
Williamson and Dan Phipps as co-chairs. The motion was seconded, discussion followed, and the
motion was approved unanimously.
High Street Hillside garden: Motion was made to create an ad hoc High Street Hillside garden
committee with Faith Kenton as chair. The motion was seconded, discussion followed, and the motion was approved unanimously.
Public Spaces: Motion was made to appoint Dan Phipps as chair of the Public Spaces Committee. The motion was seconded, discussion followed, and the motion was approved unanimously.
Membership: Motion was made to appoint Jay Osborne as chair of the Membership Committee, as Debbie Stoloff wishes to remain on the committee but resign as chair. The motion was seconded, discussion followed, and the motion was approved unanimously.
High Street Hillside garden: Motion was made to cap the High Street Hillside garden at current
dimensions and current number of plantings, except as recommended by the ad hoc High Street
Hillside Committee and approved by a vote of the Garden Club Board. The motion was seconded,
discussion followed, and the motion was approved with a divided vote of 6 in favor and 3 against.
Announcements, Plans for the Winter:
Membership engagement: Jay is working on a membership packet for orientation, garden training and mentoring.
Social gatherings: Barbara asked those present to think about the kinds of social gatherings over the winter that members might enjoy.
Memorial Lilac: Carole Williamson noted that the memorial lilac for Lynn Keleher was planted at the Garden on the Bridge in a lovely ceremony that was appreciated by her family members.
Digitizing the Garden Club’s history: Work on this project is ongoing. Barbara and Jay request
members who have Garden Club documents in storage at home to submit them for scanning.
Next Meeting – TBD
Adjourned – 5:30 pm
Respectfully submitted by Ursula Roskoski