Latest Committee Reports (06/15/22)

GCFP Awards & Laurels (Fran Koch) –

CAR-SGC Golden Perennial Bloom Award Competition Clubs choose and send their PERENNIAL BLOOM Candidate’s “Application Form” (see updated Award Description that allows no more than 4 pages and a picture) to our District Director Tonya Young by July 1. This award is for long time members who, like the faithful perennials in our gardens, have made our clubs grow and bloom with their continuous support of goals and objectives. 


Laurels are non-competitive awards that can be given to any qualified District or individual club member. These awards encourage and recognize outstanding accomplishments that are “above and beyond” the regular duties of office or committee. Be selective in your choice of nominees. Consider persons who have never been recognized and honored for superior service to club, District or Federation. Do not make an application for an individual who has received a Laurel for the same project before a three (3) year period lapses. If, however, a nominee qualifies for a Laurel for an entirely different project or activity than she had previously qualified, she may be nominated again. 

Each Garden Club Awards Chair should send ONE email with all your Garden Club’s Laurel Nominees included to Fran.

The one email should include the following: 

1. Club Name 

2. Date of Application 

3. Name, email, and phone number of Club President 

4. Name, email and phone number of the Club Awards Chair, or person submitting the application. 

5. The name of each nominee along with one or two sentences explaining the nominee’s work to justify the application. KEEP IT BRIEF. This wording will be typed on the Laurel Certificate. 

Members of clubs may be recognized for outstanding activity in the following:
Club Programming: well balanced, including study and/or activity in all of the following: Horticulture, Artistic Floral Design, Conservation and at least one phase of Civic Activity, e.g., Junior Gardening, Horticulture Therapy, Conservation, Civic Development, etc.
• Conservation
• Civic Development

Horticulture Therapy (actual work with patients)
• Horticulture Therapy through services, such as beautification of grounds, providing decorations, etc.
• Horticulture-honor the outstanding horticulturist
• Junior, Intermediate or High School Gardening
• Landscape Design
• Scholarship
• World Gardening
• Any other GCFP or National Objective such as promotion of special types of horticulture, specialty gardens, educational workshops, public relations. 

If you have questions please email, call or text 717-253-1601. District Laurels will be distributed to the club presidents at the Fall District IV Meeting. Thank you for making time to acknowledge the people in your club who invest the time and effort and nurture your Garden Club.

GCFP AWARDS FOR HORTICULTURE (PP.11-12 GCFP Awards Manual. Details were provided in April Award Chair report. Nominations are due by August 1. 

Prospective candidates should be sent to the Exceptional Horticulturalist State Chair by August 1st.  Send to JoAnn Celaschi (address can be found on GCFP website).

Certificates are awarded at the District Annual Meetings. Exceptional Horticulturalists certificates shall be presented with a printed card indicating that their name has been placed in the GCFP Book of Exceptional Horticulturalists, and on the GCFP 

GCFP District Exceptional Horticulturalist Award 

GCFP Club Horticulture 

Achievement Award 

GCFP Horticulture Excellence Award 

Elizabeth Potts Amidon Horticulture Award 

There is no specific form to fill out for this award but you will need to submit a brief description of the type of garden that they maintain, the types of plants they grow, any accomplishments that they achieved, any programs that they presented on the subject of horticulture to their club or other clubs and/or organizations. Also, if they completed or attended any one of the NGC schools, please include that information. Submit any reason that should qualify this person for the award by August 1, 2022. As with all awards applications, the GCFP Award Application Form 2021-2023 should be included. 

Fran Koch, District IV Awards Chair, call or text Fran if you need help.

Horticulture (Connie Holland) – Certify Your Garden for Attracting Pollinators

A recent garden show on PBS reminded me that at least one-third of our food supply is dependent upon honeybees for pollination. Unfortunately our honeybee population is steadily declining. In my gardens wild honeybees used to be present all summer long. In recent years they appeared infrequently, and last year none were present. However plenty of other pollinators were present and these included mason bees, bumblebees, other smaller bee species, butterflies, moths, lots of wasps, and even humming birds. My gardens attracted so many pollinators because specific plantings and gardening practices enticed them to visit. 

Anyone can implement the gardening practices needed to have a garden that is “Pollinator Friendly” thereby helping to protect important pollinators. Pollinator friendly gardens provide both necessary habitat plus pollen and nectar sources from early spring to late fall. This is accomplished by planting a variety of preferably native trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals having a variety of flower shapes and size. Native plants are the heart of a pollinator friendly garden. Research shows that native plants are four times more attractive to pollinators than non-natives. Natives are well adapted to survive in a particular geographic area and an added benefit is that native plants usually require less care and maintenance and are more resistant to disease. 

Plants that are host foods for the larvae (caterpillars) of butterflies and moths are critical since without host plants for the larvae there would be no butterflies and moths. Many butterfly larvae feed only on one or two specific plants such as Monarch caterpillars that only eat milkweed, and Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars feed mainly on spicebush and sassafras. Holes in the leaves of these plants mean they are doing their job of providing food to pollinator larvae. 

My gardens were “Penn State Extension Master Gardener Certified Pollinator Friendly” many years ago and as a result of my gardening practices, I have a host of other pollinators beside honeybees. Among them are several types of bumblebees, mason bees, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, hummingbirds, ants and even beetles. 

Pollinators need sources of water for drinking and reproduction. Butterflies, for example, will gather and sip at shallow pools, mud puddles or even birdbaths. A garden may already have a natural water source, such as a pond or stream. If not, create a water source by adding a birdbath or a low-sided container of water with small rocks. I use a large glazed flowerpot saucer for a water source for butterflies and wasps in my garden. It is fun to watch them sit on the saucer edge and drink. 

Another good way to encourage pollinators to visit your garden is to provide nesting sites. Bumblebees and many solitary bees nest in the ground and need open patches of soil. Dead wood provides nesting areas for a variety of pollinators such as other types of bees, wasps, beetles and ants. Many solitary bees nest in the pithy center of stems and twigs or provided nest sites. My tubular solitary bee house gets filled every season, is cleaned out and gets reused each year. One can even purchase mason bee cocoons harvested form bee tube houses to populate a garden. 

Pollinators also need protection for overwintering, so instead of cleaning up gardens in the fall, wait until late spring. Many larval pupae such as those of the eastern black swallowtail butterfly overwinter in the ground below their larval host plants. Perennials and grasses left standing can provide them shelter while providing winter interest in a garden. 

Identify any existing invasive plants on your property and initiate a plan to remove them. Invasive plant species endanger pollinator habitat. An invasive plant is an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic, environmental, or human health harm. Invasive species out- 

compete native species for food and water, may carry disease, contribute to the decline of threatened and endangered species, prey on native species, and change biodiversity by overgrowing and crowding out native species. 

Some common garden plants on the invasive list are:

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
▪ Privat (Ligustrum species)
Bush Honeysuckles, (Lonicera species)
Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) 

Avoid using pesticides since pesticides do not distinguish between pests and beneficial insects thereby harming beneficials that actually are targeting pests in your garden. Many common garden insecticides are deadly to all forms of beneficial bee and wasp. Avoid systemic pesticides since they get absorbed and move throughout the entire plant, into the pollen and nectar, making it toxic. It becomes deadly to both pests and beneficial insects such as butterfly and moth caterpillars and especially bees. 

If your gardens and your gardening practices follow what is described above, you may wish to have your gardens certified as pollinator friendly. All that is necessary is to visit the Penn State website at and select Pollinator Certification. There you will find a listing of desired plants and gardening practices in order to obtain certification. It takes less than 15 minutes to fill out the form. Supply photos of your gardens or a drawing and submit them to Penn State. It is easy, not lengthy nor arduous to complete the application. Once certified, advertise your good practices with the Penn State Certified Pollinator garden sign. See photo.