Irwin Park Goat Initiative

The goats have arrived! Welcome Bella, Chalupa, Bo, Stewie, and Miss Bo Peep! The New Canaan Garden Club has partnered with the Town of New Canaan to bring goats to Irwin Park to help eradicate the highly invasive Japanese knotweed. Nicknamed “Godzilla weed,” knotweed, with its deeply-penetrating rhizomes, is steadily overtaking sections of Irwin Park threatening native species and encroaching on the Flexi-pave path. (Japanese knotweed can have roots as deep as ten feet and it has been known to grow through concrete!) As a greener more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of herbicides, the Garden Club has hired Larry and Annlilita Cihanek of Green-Goats to rid the Park of this noxious weed. As the goats continually eat the plants, they weaken the root systems, eventually killing the plants. Once the goats chew the knotweed to the ground, they will be returned home for a short time so the plants can regenerate. They will then be returned to the Park to chew the regrowth. This process will take at least two growing seasons to accomplish.
For the past 13 years a number of national, state, city, and town parks, cemeteries, colleges, and golf courses in six states have used Green-Goats to eliminate weeds and invasive plants. The New Canaan Garden Club along with other volunteers are responsible for providing fresh water for the goats daily and Green-Goats will check on them weekly. Please come by and say hello to them but not feed them! They are in the Park to eat the knotweed.
If you would like to support the “Goat Initiative,” the Garden Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are most welcomed. Donations can be made online or checks can be made out to the New Canaan Garden Club (“Goat Initiative” in memo line) and mailed to NCGC, PO Box 1553, New Canaan, CT 06840.
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Helping to install the fence for the goats in Irwin Park are: (l to r) Larry Cihanek of Green-Goats, Max Schauer, Andrew Wilson and Kevin Bruner of Boy Scout Troop 70, John Wyman, Alice Wyman and Tracy Merrill of the New Canaan Garden Club.
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New Canaan Garden Club members (l to r) Wendy Dewey, Julie Marcus, Tracy Merrill, Alice Wyman and Jo Ziesing all volunteered their time to help bring the goats to Irwin Park to eradicate the invasive Japanese knotweed.
  Miss Bo Peepsmall  Stewiesmall

New Canaan Garden Club produces reusable bags

New Canaan Garden Club Conservation Committee members (from left) Jo Ziesing, Tracy Merrill, Wendy Dewey and Julie Peter are responsible for producing reusable bags being distributed by the organization. Contributed photo
In support of the growing worldwide movement banning single-use plastic bags, the New Canaan Garden Club has produced reusable bags, which are available for purchase at Elm Street Books.
These bags conveniently fold back into a small attached pouch, which can be easily carried in a coat pocket, purse, backpack or briefcase, or hooked to a strap with the attached carabiner.
The New Canaan Town Council passed an ordinance in February banning single-use plastic bags beginning in the fall of this year. As has been widely publicized, single-use plastic bags have had an enormous impact on the earth’s ecology as they take so long to decompose, have clogged waterways and have been found in oceans affecting the life and well-being of many marine creatures.

The Connecticut Nature Conservancy on the Long Island Sound

NCGC Nature ConservHolly Drinkuth, Director, Watershed and Connecticut Outreach Programs for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut, spoke to members of the New Canaan Garden Club regarding the Conservancy’s efforts and strategies to continue to restore and protect clean water and healthy habitats in and along Long Island Sound.
Garden Club members heard that one of the continuing problems for the Sound is the amount of nitrogen entering the Sound water which fuels toxic algae blooms. As stated by the Nature Conservancy, “By changing management practices at home and supporting community plans to set and meet nitrogen limits, we can safeguard clean and healthy conditions in rivers, harbors and bays.”
Drinkuth suggested that if homeowners are willing to slightly change their lawn care routine there will be an impact on the health of our local streams and rivers and ultimately the Sound. Reducing or eliminating the uses of lawn fertilizer is one of the recommendations.
Pictured after the meeting are (l to r) Marie Orsini Rosen, Director of Philanthropy Nature Conservancy; Liz Zea, Co-Chair NCGC Programs; Ellen Zumbach, NCGC President; Carrie Corcoran, Co-Chair NCGC Programs; and speaker Holly Drinkuth.

Ken Druse lecture on "The New Shade Garden"

NCGC w.Beautification edited-1The New Canaan Garden Club and the New Canaan Beautification League held a joint program for their members at the New Canaan Library with celebrated lecturer, environmentalist, award-winning author and photographer, Ken Druse. Ken spoke to the group on his new book: "The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change", focusing in on the challenges that have arisen due to our changing climate. Ken has been called the “guru of natural gardening”.
Standing with Ken Druse after the meeting are (l to r) Beautification League’s Program Chair, Gerda Smith; Beautification Co-President, Barbara Beall; Ken Druse; NCGC’s President Ellen Zumbach; NCGC’s Program Chair Carrie Corcoran and Beautification’s League Co-President Karen Sneirson.