July 7, 2022

Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for June, ‘The Time of Perfect Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

June is, ‘The Time of Perfect, Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

We have had a few cool nights recently, which are just wonderful and allow one to sleep with the windows open.  I cannot remember the last time we had a real spring such as we are experiencing this year, with plenty of gentle rain. This beneficial rain is wonderful for all the spring plant growth and such a pleasure to see.

I am so in awe of the miracle of Mother Nature; the symbiotic relationship between plants and all of God’s creatures.

As I looked out of my window from my old home a few years ago,  I could see the buds opening on my 30-foot-long stand of Peonies, which had been planted by the original homeowner in the early 1900s. That sight brought to mind one of the symbiotic relationships, the friendly partnership between ants and peonies.

I am often asked, “Maureen, should I worry about ants on my peonies?” The answer is, “That’s not a problem, lots of ants on the peonies just demonstrate that you have healthy plants with big buds producing more nectar, which therefore, in turn, attract the ants.”


A stand of peonies is always stunning.

Make sure Peonies get plenty of water and after blooming, apply a light application of composted manure and check the soils PH which should be between 6.5 and 7.0.  It is hard to ruin a good peony border but you can err in the fertilizing process, so go easy on the organic aged manure.

Following the bloom, do not cut the peonies down until November, after the first frost. Now, in early June, I pinched off the side buds on my large stand of peonies, this ensures big blooms on the rest of the plant.


On the subject of ants; if you see them “let them live,” because often their presence indicates that we have aphids around and ants feed off aphids; very useful creatures.

Another useful creature in wars against pests is the lowly toad. I suggest putting some toad houses in and around your border.  You may purchase toad houses from the garden center if you so desire. Or you can do as I do which is to use an old clay pot that is cracked and make sure that the crack is two to three inches wide for the door so the toad can enter. Also put a small saucer as a floor under the pot with some rocks, which you keep damp, so that your friendly bad bug eater has his or her ideal home environment.


Mulch your gardens this month when the ground has warmed up to 55 degrees.  When mulching, take care mulching around trees. Apply the mulch at least six inches from the base of the trunk, any closer can promote rot and disease in the tree itself. Any trees that are mulched too deeply near the trunk invite mice and other rodents to come in order to nest and gnaw on the trunk.

Your garden can be mulched to a depth of between two and three inches.  I prefer fine dark brown hardwood mulch but please do not use dyed red mulch, keep the garden natural, not looking like a Disney theme park.


June is the month when Roses begin to bloom.  I prefer David Austin roses, I find these roses are the most -trouble free Roses and offer so much reward being repeat bloomers with wonderful fragrances.

Some of my favorites are:

  • ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ a soft peachy pink
  • ‘Abraham Darby,’ with blooms showing a blend of apricot and yellow
  • ‘Fair Bianca,’ a pure white
  • ‘Heritage,’ a soft clear pink

And my favorite ‘Evelyn’, which has giant apricot flowers in a saucer shape and the fragrance is second to none with a luscious fruity tone, reminding me of fresh peaches and apricots.

Feed your roses with composted manure, keeping the manure and mulch about six inches away from the base of the rose, then adding a few more inches of manure once a month until mid-August, at that time stop feeding for the roses to gently move into a slow dormancy.

Japanese beetles are very attracted to roses therefore, any Japanese beetle traps should be placed far away from your borders on the perimeter of the property.

A tip for keeping cut roses fresh: cut the roses in the early morning and cut just above a five-leaf cluster and place stems in a container of lukewarm water. Inside the house, recut the stems to produce a one-and-a-half inch angular cut, under warm running water, then place cut roses in a vase filled with warm water.

Do not remove the thorns on cut roses. I have found that removing the thorns, reduces their indoor life by as much as three days.


Blue hydrangeas. Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash.

These need plenty of water, (in the fields where they were found growing close to water and classified as a wetland plant before they were introduced into our gardens), also apply aged manure around the Hydrangeas, have them spaced at least four feet apart for good ventilation, which will help to prevent mildew and plant them in full sun. If you have blue Hydrangea macrophylla and want a more vibrant shade of blue, add some peat moss on top of the manure, the peat is acidic and will produce a lovely shade of blue.


Regular pruning through spring and summer is the main factor to help this arrogant vine to flower; by that I mean prune several times during the season. Prune every two weeks at least six inches on each stem.

Clematis wilt:

If you have this problem with clematis, you will notice it early because the shoots wilt and die. This disease is impossible to cure, as it is soil borne, so it is not possible to plant another clematis of that species in that area of the garden.

However, you can plant the Viticella clematis selection; these are vigorous, free flowering blooms and are not susceptible to wilt.  Some good choices in this variety are Blue Belle, Etoile Violette, both are purple and Huldine, which is white,

Container Gardens:

Unexpected objects can make interesting plant containers. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

If you have room for one pot, you have room for a number; placed close together in different shapes and sizes, they can create your own miniature garden.

Apart from regular pots, the most unexpected objects make interesting containers. A friend, who cut down trees this past winter, left the stumps and hollowed them out to make containers, one large and two smaller stumps together, an interesting combo.

At the same time look in your basement, shed or barn to see if you have an old wheelbarrow, even if it has a wheel missing it will present an unusual angle as a planter.

Or you may come across a large, chipped ceramic jar (I, in fact, have an old two foot tall ceramic vinegar container, replete with a hole where the vinegar tap was inserted, ideal for drainage), which will look great on my newly-painted blue bench next to my red milk shed.

Lawn Care:

Do not forget to add organic grub control through July, so that you keep down the mole infestation; remember no grubs, less food for the moles.

Powdery Mildew:

Keep an eye open for powdery mildew, especially after a rain when humidity returns. In a sprayer, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable or horticultural oil in a gallon of water and spray the mildew.

Hydrangeas and Summer phlox are particularly prone to be affected by this problem. I recommend Phlox Miss Lingard or Phlox David, white ones of the species, which are the most mildew resistant. Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is also affected by the mildew; the one I have found to be the most resistant is “Cambridge Scarlet”.

Do be careful when introducing Monarda into the garden; this plant, like Purple Loosestrife and Evening Primrose, is extremely invasive and can take over your entire border.

Still with invasive plants, if you plant mint, plant it only in containers, otherwise mint will spread throughout your borders.

I hope these tips are useful to you in this busy time of year in the garden. Stretch, hydrate and enjoy the burgeoning promise of your garden and I’ll see you next month.

If you would like some more gardening advice, contact my son Ian at LandscapesbByIan.com. I am sure you would enjoy speaking with him as he is full of knowledge since, as the saying goes, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Celebrates Its First Anniversary

The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden in June 2022. Photos by Sheila McTigue-Ward.

Growing.  Caring.  Sharing. 

OLD LYME — American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey offered a tasty kernel of wisdom when he noted, “Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”

The good intentions of the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) began in earnest one year ago when volunteers convened at Town Woods Park during the first weekend of June 2021 to build a garden.

A flurry of ‘firsts’ soon followed – first trench, first fence, first raised beds – and one year later, the LOLFSG is on the verge of its first harvest!  The garden now boasts more than 30 in-ground rows and six raised beds.  Planted crops include peas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kale, squash and more.

The ‘someone’ or more aptly, ‘someones” expending effort to cultivate the LOLFSG’s goals are the intrepid volunteers who dig trenches, haul mulch, erect fencing, plant seeds, water, weed and more.

LOLFSG is a nonprofit organization fully run by volunteers and without their concerted and ongoing efforts, the goal to support access to healthy food and reduce food insecurity by growing produce and donating it to local food pantries and kitchens would not be possible.

As the garden expands, the need for volunteers also grows.  The LOLFSG invites individuals of all ages to participate, including supervised children.   Teens interested in earning community service hours are also encouraged to volunteer.

Workdays are Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.   No gardening experience is necessary and tools/equipment are provided, including toddler-sized varieties.  Come when you can and leave when you must … every hour of work advances the mission of the garden.

An email is sent prior to each work session to identify tasks for the upcoming work session.

To join the volunteer mailing list, contact amelia.malsbury@gmail.com.

Updates and additional information and photos are available through Facebook, Instagram or https://www.lolfoodsharegarden.org/.

This was the garden in June 2021.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations and kudos to all involved in this remarkable project, especially Jim Ward, who both conceived the idea and has subsequently led the project from its inception.

‘Tour de Lyme’ Takes Place Today, Benefits Lyme Land Trust; Registration Still Possible

And away they go … the 8th annual Tour de Lyme will take place Sunday, June 5.

LYME — After a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth annual Tour de Lyme is happening again on Sunday, June 5.

This is a change to the original May date announced in order to support the local farmer, who leases the Ashlawn Farm fields. This change will enable the fields, where cars are parked for the Tour de Lyme, to be hayed prior to the event.

For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone – riders, sponsorsand volunteers – will enjoy a post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, beer and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the always popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead. There will also be Tour de Lyme shirts for sale.

For complete information and online registration, visit www.tourdelyme.org

Ready to ride!

It is not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying length and degree of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE, the name says it all, is 60 miles – a real workout;
  • The CLASSIC, shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge;
  • The VALLEY Rides  pleasant easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY  at just 8 miles designed for riding with children.

There are also two mountain bike options;

  • the RIDER’S TEST a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts
  • a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by The Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Connecticut. During those years, the Lyme rural community has shown that a small population can have a big impact and protect more than 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise – open to all.

Money raised from the Tour de Lyme will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the Land Trust preserves while protecting and maintaining what has already been conserved for generations to come.

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – registration and donations are tax deductible.

Town of Lyme Awarded Sustainable CT Certification, One of Only Four Towns in State to Achieve Prestigious Bronze Level

LYME, CT – On Wednesday, June 1, the Town of Lyme announced that is one of four Connecticut municipalities to be recognized this spring for achieving Sustainable CT certification. Lyme met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious bronze-level certification.  

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive. The organization announced its 2022 spring certified communities this week.  

In learning of the award, Lyme First Selectman Steven Mattson said, “I would like to thank the hard-working team of volunteers on our Sustainable Committee, as well as the volunteers on our boards and commissions, elected officials and Town staff who made this accomplishment possible. The award is further proof that Lyme is a great place to live.” 

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, the Town of Lyme demonstrated significant achievements with 18 actions in 12 sustainable impact areas. The Town was awarded points for its:-

  • Emphasis of the importance of open space
  • Adoptions of an equity resolution and an affordable housing plan
  • Expanded communications with residents
  • Active promotion of resources for:
    > maintaining dark skies
    > fighting invasive plant species
    > buying local
    >linking residents to area social services and public transportation.  

Programs of note that were launched as part of the Town’s efforts to receive certification include the Lyme Pollinator Pathway and Lymes’ Creative Arts.

More information on all of these activities can be found at this link

Lyme Sustainable Committee Chair Gavin Lodge said, “Being designated as a Sustainable CT municipality is a great honor and reflects a true team effort on the part of many volunteers, boards and commissions.”

In particular, Lodge thanked the 11 volunteers, who serve on the Sustainable Committee:

  • Sue Cope
  • Sarah Crisp
  • Diana Fiske
  • Liz Frankel
  • Carleen Gerber
  • Wendy Hill
  • Carol House
  • John Kiker
  • David Lahm
  • Jim Miller
  • Alan Sheiness
  • Cynthia Willauer. 

The Town needed at least 200 points to achieve bronze certification and received 275 points. Lodge said the next step would be looking at taking Lyme to silver certification, the highest current level of certification available. 

Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact  program. One-hundred twenty-nine municipalities have registered for the program.

Collectively, 64 municipalities have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certification lasts for 3 years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.  

“Congratulations to our newest Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Lynn  Stoddard, executive director of the program. “They join a growing number of certified  towns and cities that are demonstrating municipal practices that make our communities  more inclusive, healthy, connected and strong.”  

The program includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection,  social equity and long-term resilience. It includes an action roadmap and support tools  that are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial  justice and respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. 

Sustainable CT is independently funded with strong support from its three founding  funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund and the Smart  Seed Fund.

Additional support is provided by the Community Foundation of Eastern  Connecticut, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County Community  Foundation, Main Street Community Foundation and other sponsors. 

The Town of Lyme and all 2022-certified communities will be recognized later this year at Sustainable CT’s annual certification awards ceremony and celebration scheduled to be held in November.

For more information about Sustainable CT, contact Sustainable  CT Communications Manager Jim Hunt at 860-259-4732 or jamesh@sustainablect.org

Op-Ed: Author Responds to Issues Raised by Town of Old Lyme Property on Buttonball Rd., Requests Absence of Acrimony

Old Lyme municipal property located at 36-1 Buttonball Road has been the subject of considerable discussion in news publications and on social media.  

By way of disclosure, I am the Old Lyme Open Space Commission secretary, but I write strictly as a private citizen who has volunteered to help preserve the town’s natural resources and scenic charm.

Two issues have been raised regarding this property – that the Open Space Commission has “hidden” the land from the public, and that the Commission is opposed to public access to it.

Regarding the first – in the roughly five years that I’ve served on the Commission, I do not remember this property ever being the subject of a discussion. 

As the principal author of the town’s approved 2020 Open Space Plan, I was aware that a definitive inventory of town-owned open space was lacking. Thus, the plan reads: 

“The Town of Old Lyme owns 936 acres of open space land in six sizable open space areas accessible for hiking and public access, and two other areas [Lords Woods and Eklund Pond].

NOTE: This total does not include various parcels of town open space owned by fee within subdivisions. When added, that land will increase the above town total.”

Any property omissions in the Plan or on Open Space webpages have not been intentional. They are rather a result of record-keeping issues.  As an example, at a recent Town Meeting, property at 18-2 Short Hills Road, Old Lyme was accepted as “open space.” It’s my understanding that the deed to this parcel identifies it as “town property” without reference to open space. This example is not meant to criticize the town land use office but is offered instead as an illustration of how an open space inventory can become complicated, particularly going back decades with land records. 

The adage “squeaky wheels get grease” bears mentioning as well.  As with many of the town’s boards and commissions, members of Open Space are all volunteers, we often serve on multiple agencies, and time is exhausted meeting basic stewardship demands, pursuing new acquisitions, and addressing various issues that arise, such as a pending, time sensitive request under current review to allow equestrian use on trails. Unlike regulatory agencies, Open Space has no town staff to assist in its work. 

Research into land records has unfortunately languished due to a continuing need to address more immediate demands. 

I commend Harbor Management for its work in seeking public access to our waterways, particularly as someone who personally enjoys kayaking. 

Regardless of the past history of 36-1 Buttonball Road, Harbor Management’s highlighting of the property has brought it into new focus.

The jurisdiction of particular agencies over the land is a legal question to be determined. It does appear, however, that a predecessor of the current Commission actively obtained this property on the town’s behalf. That said, my hope is that various town agencies can work together cooperatively on this property.

The second point to address is allegations that Open Space is “fighting” to keep the public from this property.  

The Commission has a charter that the town’s citizens approved in a Town Meeting vote, and which is now an ordinance (underlining added):

“Supervise and manage acquired open space lands for passive recreational use by the public, protect and preserve the natural resources and wildlife contained therein and develop appropriate standards and limitations for the use of parcels of land acquired pursuant to the provisions of this article to assure their continued use as open space.” § 20-56 D.

At issue is whether public access over salt marsh to a creek that runs into the Black Hall River is advisable. Years ago, the Conservation Commission addressed that exact issue and for its own reasons declined to pursue that access. 

In revisiting the property today, the First Selectman asked Open Space to seek an objective, expert review on whether salt marsh or wildlife might be impacted by river access at the site. The Commission is doing just that and has agreed to share information with Harbor Management and Inland Wetlands. Pursuant to a request from the town’s chief executive and in line with its mandate, it’s a charge the Commission needs to follow. The process will be transparent, and any finding will be public. 

A concomitant issue is a condition that was attached to the town’s acquisition of the property from the State of Connecticut that requires its use for river access. It has been argued that absent that specific use, the property may be reclaimed by the state. Thus, such access, as asserted, seems to be the controlling concern, so it is first being addressed. 

At the same time, some have suggested the property would be suitable for viewing the Black Hall River and the surrounding marshes. The area is populated by an array of wildlife, including nearby active osprey nests, and often seen egrets, great blue herons, eagles, and various other species. 

36-1 Buttonball Road would make a wonderful viewing area for town residents to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and to observe wildlife. I would fully support that use, and I suspect my fellow Commission members would as well.

During the entire time I’ve served, Open Space has been committed to promoting public access to the town conserved property. In fact, a good portion of my volunteer time has been spent drafting public messages to just that effect. Last evening, the Commission, with the Old Lyme Land Trust and the Old Lyme Inn, sponsored a “hikers’ happy hour” on Champlain South to encourage visitation.

An unfortunate by-product of the 36-1 Buttonball Road discussion has been the denigration of the Open Space Commission co-chairs.  

Amanda Blair has devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer time to the town on behalf of open space. She personally shepherded a detailed and complex purchase of the McCulloch farm to closing, and the subsequent necessary amendments to its conservation easement, to allow public access to this beautiful property.

Evan Griswold has served the town for decades, including on Open Space from its origin. He is one of the most dedicated conservationists I know and always has the best interests of nature and the town in mind. Contrary to public comments, Mr. Griswold, as the commission lead in view of Mrs. Blair’s recusal, is not against public access to 36-1 Buttonball Road. He is rather doing what the commission’s charter requires and what the First Selectman has requested – attempting to prudently balance the interaction between people and nature. 

In its various property negotiations and purchases and in its stewardship of town land, the Open Space Commission has strived to respectfully conduct town business. Let us all proceed courteously and without acrimony.

Take a Champlain South Hike and/or Join ‘Hiker’s Happy Hour’ at Old Lyme Inn, THIS AFTERNOON

OLD LYME — The second Hikers’ Happy Hour of 2022, sponsored by the Open Space Commission, the Old Lyme Land Trust, and the Old Lyme Inn, will be held THIS AFTERNOON on Wednesday, June 1.  

A guided walk will leave at 4:15 p.m. from the Meetinghouse Lane entrance to Champlain South Open Space. A portion of the walk will follow an old 17th and 18th century roadway, where tracks from iron-wheeled carts are still visible in bedrock. 

After the hike, a friendly happy hour at the Old Lyme Inn will follow from 5 to 7 p.m.  Even if you do not hike, you’re still welcome at the Inn for Happy Hour!

Hikers should wear comfortable walking shoes and bring insect repellent.

In the event of rain, meet at the Old Lyme Inn for Happy Hour instead of the trailhead.

Information on the Champlain South Open Space and its trails may be found at: https://www.oldlyme-ct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3616/f/uploads/olos_champlainsouth9.14.2020.pdf

Letter to the Editor: Keep the Vision of Public Access to Public Land Alive in Old Lyme

To the Editor:

The Republican Party has a long history of protecting one of our nation’s most precious resources – the beauty of our natural environment. President Theodore Roosevelt, known as “The Conservation President”, established the United States Forest Service and during his administration preserved over 230 million acres of public land  to be kept in its natural state and to be enjoyed by the public. President Johnson spearheaded the Clean Water Act during his administration and President Nixon followed up with the Clean Air Act during his tenure. Our party is also proud to have worked with our Democrat friends to keep America beautiful.

Why do we live in Old Lyme? One of the top answers is because it is the most beautiful rural small town along the Connecticut coastline. We are second to none with a landscape bounded by the Long Island Sound, rivers, wooded hills and filled with a very biodiverse ecology. The question that needs to be asked is, “How do we protect this beauty and still enjoy it with all our senses?”

Recently, there have been several news stories about a parcel of town owned property located at 36-1 Buttonball Road. It was deeded to the town with a restriction that it shall be used by the public for waterfront access. A representative from CT DEEP indicated that if the town went forward with that plan and an environmental impact study were to be done, then it would be very probable that DEEP would permit some minimal development to access the water based on an on-site observation. There would be room to park a vehicle and then access the water by way of a minimally impacting boardwalk to launch a kayak or to just enjoy the salt marsh ecology.

We support and encourage the town to pursue the wishes of this property’s donor to allow the public to have waterfront access. Furthermore, we stress the importance of responsible stewardship for these generous gifts. Proper stewardship will demonstrate that we value and will protect a donor’s wishes; and, it will encourage future donors to gift parcels of land for the public benefit knowing that their gift’s purpose will be honored.

We do understand that this parcel falls within jurisdictional aspects of several town authorities and so we encourage a post haste resolution of this jurisdictional issue so that the town may expeditiously move forward with a DEEP application for an environmental impact study.

It has been well over a century since President Theodore Roosevelt made it a national vision to protect and enjoy nature. Let’s continue to keep this vision alive in Old Lyme!

Robert A. Nixon,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

Gardening Tips for April from ‘The English Lady,’ a ‘Month of Activity’

Dandelions are one of the prettier weeds to announce the arrival of spring. But do not forget that the young foliage of dandelions is great in salads,  and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach! Photo by Viridi Green on Unsplash.

Those April showers that come our way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
And when it’s raining, let’s not forget,
It isn’t raining rain at all, its raining violets

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

April is the month of activity in the garden, and our old nemesis, weeds are beginning to rear their heads, so we need to extract the little devils before they take hold and are difficult to remove.

Having said that, I must point out the benefits of many weeds. Nettles are food for butterflies, clover extracts nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil, and oil from jewel weed soothes poison ivy rash. The young foliage of dandelions is great in salads, healthy and containing many nutrients, and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach.  I also do not want to forget our songbirds and other wildlife, who depend on weed seeds as a food source.

Weed removal – weeds must be pulled gently so the weed and roots do not break apart for, if this happens, thousands of weed seeds will reseed and you will find yourself with an endless cycle of unnecessary weeding. When careful weeding has been accomplished, apply an organic weed pre-emergent, with a corn gluten base by Bradfield organics. This will keep weeds at bay for about six weeks.

Plant bare root roses at the end of April. Photo by Bailey Chenevey on Unsplash.


Plant bare root roses at the end of April and container roses in mid-May.

Then in the middle of May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees, add manure with a fine bark mulch about one foot from the base of the rose. Check my March tips to refresh yourself on pruning roses.

Be careful clearing winter debris from around rhododendrons, mountain laurel and azaleas; these evergreens have shallow roots and you do not want the roots being exposed.

If the winter weather did indeed erode soil around some roots, add a few inches of soil to cover the exposed roots and at the same time resettle the plant in place. Then in the middle of May apply manure and fine bark mulch as well as some peat, which adds much needed acidity to evergreens.

Plant gladioli corms at two-week intervals in late April. Planting in two week intervals ensures you will get a succession of bloom. Plant the corms eight inches down; this extra depth helps keep the heavy blooms erect.

The Red Lily beetle will soon begin to appear, therefore I suggest applying organic Neem oil on the Lilies when they are about four inches above ground, which helps prevent and deal with the beetle problem.


This is an effective way to control many soil- borne problems, specifically the tomato blight that causes fruit rot. Covering the soil with clear plastic at the end of April, for one to two months can generate high enough temperatures in the top six to 12 inches of soil to kill pests, nematodes, weed seeds and many disease organisms like the tomato blight.

This process has proved invaluable for home gardeners and the beneficial effects last for several seasons.

To solarize, dig a trench several inches deep around the bed, and spread a thin, clear plastic film (1-4 mils) over the bed.  Press the plastic into close contact with the soil and seal the edges by filling the trench with soil.  Leave the plastic on the soil until you are ready to plant tomatoes or other vegetables in about a month to six weeks.

When the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, manure all the borders with composted manure in bags from the garden center or aged manure from the bottom of the farmer’s pile and mulch with a fine brown hardwood mulch.

In the vegetable garden, after preparation and planting, and when it is time to mulch, do so with manure which will not ‘cap’ — this means that it does not form a crust like other mulches so that air and water can get through to the roots of the plants where it is needed.      

If you did not apply an organic grub control on the grass in March, apply now to keep the grubs down and cut down on the mole population.    

The soil is the most important component of the growing business; compost, organic manure and peat amend the soil to rebuild its structure. The ratio to use is one part compost to three parts manure and apply peat to the planting mix in the ratio of one part peat to three parts manure when planting evergreens. And as mentioned above, peat adds the acidity which evergreens need.

Good soil structure is extremely important in the garden. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Good soil structure assists with drainage, prevents compaction, and the rich nutrients that is the result as these amendments break down and encourage the soil animals beneath the surface to work at full capacity.

In a light soil such as sand, humus — which is the combination of manure — mulch and carbon from the atmosphere bind the sand particles together and, in heavy soil such as clay, keep the clay particles separate to make room for air and drainage.  

Growing conditions in April are very favorable for new plant-root development and it is the ideal time to transplant evergreen shrubs and new evergreens. Put the organic manure and peat with the topsoil in the planting hole in the ratios. Then give the roots a workout before planting to release them. In this way, the roots are opened up and will reach into the surrounding soil for nutrients and water. Also, they will not dry out in the heat of summer.    

Many years ago, when I moved into my farmhouse on the shoreline, I discovered that my soil was sandy, which is good for drainage but sadly lacking in nutrients. I began adding a few inches of manure to all planted borders in April, July and October and today when I put a spade in the ground to check the color of the soil in spring, it is ‘black gold.’  

Gloves should be worn using manure which contains bacteria. The bacteria is great for the plants and the soil but not good for your health.  These products tend to be slow acting; gradually making the nutrients available to the plant and the rewards are infinite.

Organic fertilizers like manure are applied in spring around mid May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees and when the plant has about six inches of growth; this allows for the nutrients to become active at the time when plant growth is happening quickly. 

A beautiful spring sight is always, ‘A host of golden daffodils.’ Photo by Sarah Mitchell-Baker on Unsplash.

Daffodils are blooming and what a lovely sight to see. When the daffodil bloom has past, do not cut the leaves from any of your spring flowering bulbs, the leaves send down energy into the bulbs to store for next season’s bloom. 

April is the time to tackle a new lawn or patch seed, use only good quality seed and organic fertilizers.   

Do not be lulled into complacency with a few back-to-back warm days; we can still get a frost and I caution you not to plant annuals until Memorial weekend. 

Do not cultivate around the perennials in the borders until mid May.

Do not panic if you were not able to get the April tasks done until May — your garden will wait for you and the constancy that is Mother Nature will continue to keep your patch of earth flourishing. 

Enjoy the pleasure of being outdoors in warmer temperatures, inhaling the pungency of awakening soil and experience the connection with Mother Nature. Do not overdo it; warm up the body before the garden labor and stay well hydrated with lots of water. We are inexorably entwined with the earth and know that even the smallest gesture of a garden has positive rewards and the effects are positive not only on you but our planet. 

I will return with more gardening tips in May when you are out in the garden in force.

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Requests Trail-Walkers Pay Special Attention While Lords Meadow Construction is Ongoing

In the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is asking that visitors use only this parking area at 33-1 Lords Meadow when accessing the Lay-Allen Preserve or the McCulloch Family Open Space. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission owns a small parking area and connecting trail at 33-1 Lord’s Meadow that provides hiking access to the Old Lyme Land Trust’s Lay-Allen Preserve

Hikers interested in a longer walk can also access the McCulloch Family Open Space via this trail and the Land Trust Preserve.

There is active construction in the neighborhood underway on several nearby building lots.

The Open Space Commission asks that visitors only use the designated parking area in the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners. 

Visitors are also requested not to block the adjacent private driveway.

Entry Now Open to Diana Atwood Johnson Photo Contest Hosted by CT Open Space

A Great Egret photographed by Diana Atwood Johnson in Orlando, Fla. The DAJ OSWA Photo Contest, which is now open for entries, is named after Atwood Johnson, who was an Old Lyme resident for many years prior to her passing in 2018.

OLD LYME —Launched in 2016, the Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) annual photo contest was re-named in 2017 in honor of the late Diana Atwood Johnson, who stepped down as the Chair of Connecticut’s State Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board, after having served in that position for 19 years.

The contest is intended to provide a venue for amateur photographers to celebrate Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP)’s Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA) and the Urban Green and Community Gardens Grant Program (UGCG), display their work, and provide the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) and DEEP with new materials for their publications and communications.

The renamed 2022 DAJ OSWA Photo Contest is now open for entries.  

Photographs taken on properties purchased using OSWA grant funds are eligible. The Old Lyme Land Trust(OLLT) holds three properties thanks to this program. They are listed below and the name in parentheses is how the property is referenced in the OSWA database.

The properties are:

  • Lay Preserve (“Lay Property”)
  • Hatchett’s Hill Preserve (“Eylandco Inc. Property”)
  • A portion of the Upper Three Mile River Preserve (“106 Four Mile River Road”)

The deadline for submissions is May 3, 2022.

For more information and details of how to submit entries, visit the CLCC Announcement of DAJ OSWA Photo Contest .

The OLLT also welcomes receiving photographs taken on any of the Trust’s preserves, some of which will be selected to be featured on the OLLT website’s photo gallery. Send photos to OLLandTrust@gmail.com. This is an open invitation and there is no deadline.

Old Lyme Harbor Commission Accepting Online Applications for 2022 Moorings in Town Waters

Photo by Sereja Ris on Unsplash.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Harbor Commission is now accepting applications for 2022 moorings in Town waters.

This year marks a transition to a web-based system, replacing the legacy paper forms. In addition to streamlining the operation,  process improvements include the option to pay electronically. The cost is $40 for the annual permit, and Proof of Tackle Compliance provided by a qualified Inspector is required.

Beginning in May, the Harbor Master will commence routine checks of the mooring fields of the Local Waters.

Boaters are reminded that moorings without valid permits and/or those that do not comply with the Old Lyme Harbor Ordinance standards for placement or identification may be removed from service without notice, and the associated removal and storage costs will be the owner’s responsibility.

Additional information is available at 2022 Mooring Permit.

Any questions regarding the process can be sent via e-mail to Tom Meyer at HMCMoorings@oldlyme-ct.gov

Lyme Garden Club Hosts Monthly Meeting This Morning, Learn How to Start Plants From Seeds

LYME — The Lyme Garden Club will hold their monthly meeting and program on Tuesday, March 8, at the Lyme Fire Company, 213 Hamburg Rd./Rte. 156. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. with the program following at 11 a.m.

The program is “Starting Plants from Seeds” presented by Gini Mita from the Wallingford (Conn.) Garden Club.  She will focus on steps the home gardener can take with seed-starting, based on her extensive experience.

Guests and potential members are welcome to attend.

Contact Sue Hessel at 860-434-3035 for more information.

Registration Opens for RTP Estuary Center Summer Camp, Limited Number of Spaces

All the fun of the RTP Estuary Summer Camp!

OLD LYME — Join the Roger Tory Peterson (RTP) Estuary Center and spend the summer where science, nature and art combine with fun.

While each session has a natural science focus, children will be busy discovering animals and plants, conducting hands-on experiments, making new friends and enjoying outdoor activities. Each week-long session will focus on a project relevant to the week’s theme, participating in a hands-on curriculum tailored to meet each child’s interest and skills.

Camp will run from June 20 to Aug 19, 2022. Campers are organized in groups based on their ages. Each weekly session’s enrollment is limited to:

  • 12 campers for the Ecology Camp (Ages 5-7)
  • 12 campers for the Ecology Camp (Ages 8-10)
  • 8 campers for the Junior Naturalists Camp (Ages 11-13)

Adventure and discovery await all campers at the RTP Estuary Center, but space is limited so early registration is recommended.

For more information and/or registration for any of the programs listed below, visit this link.

Weekly themes for the Ecology Camp are as follows:

Week 1: Estuary Explorers
June 20 – 24
Dive into the extraordinary world of estuary life! Campers will learn about the creatures, plants and algae that live in this environment through hands-on discovery. Seine nets, magnifying glasses, microscopes and buckets will give us the up-close view of critters before they’re released. Weekly project includes building and testing their own a clean water filter.

Week 2: Art and Science Discovery
June 27- July 1
Release the artist within! Science invites inquiry, while art inspires the creative process. The two will interconnect in this explorative hands-on session.  By experimenting with a variety of materials and mediums, we will witness firsthand the intriguing, beautiful results that can happen! And for campers who wish to capture everything they learn and do, there will be daily time for journaling. Weekly project includes a large scale collaborative multimedia art piece using found and repurposed objects.

Week 3: Nature Engineers
July 5- 8 *no camp on July 4
Build, test, design and trial -STEAM in ACTION! Put your skills to the test this week as you construct, explore, problem solve, test materials and work cooperatively! Campers will explore the ways animals engineer their environments and learn about biomimicry. Based on their observations, campers will create their own tools to solve real-life problems.

Week 4: Fantastic Flyers
July 11-15
Take flight and discover the mystery of birds, bats, dragonflies, and butterflies. Campers will search for these winged creatures and their homes as we discover the outdoors! We’ll unveil the mysteries of beaks, talons, and feathers as we explore the birds’ many talents and skills. Learn to use binoculars and field guides! Campers will create a bird feeding station and each day conduct a bird count and collect data on bird behaviors.

Week 5: Wild Water Wonders
July 18- 22
Investigate the mysteries of water, mud and soil! Worms, slugs, and snails are just the beginning of what you will discover! Campers will explore what lives in the water and help take care of our classroom tanks as well as learn about the importance of taking care of our water sources. Each day will bring a new water experiment for campers to explore.

Week 6: Super Scientists
July 25 -29
Explore and venture into the ologies! Biology, ecology, ornithology, hydrology and more!    While studying all the ologies learn about plant and animal adaptations, water and soil quality and much more! From birds to bugs and soil to water, we’ll see what the natural world is all about. This week, campers will conduct a plant study of their design.

Week 7: Eco-Adventurers
Aug 1-5
Frogs, salamanders, butterflies, and birds await! There will be a new adventure every day as we pond dip, catch insects, and explore nature. We’ll use nets, water quality testing equipment, microscopes, and much more. Captivating explorations, investigations, games, and creative activities fill the days! Weekly project includes designing and building your own mini-habitat diorama.

Week 8: Budding Scientists
Aug 8-12
Campers will catch and study insects, search for wild birds, track animals, and design their very own field journal filled with their weekly discoveries! Each day will explore a different topic as we investigate all our natural world has to offer!

Week 9: Art and Science Discovery
Aug 15-19

Science invites inquiry, while art inspires the creative process. The two will interconnect in this explorative hands-on session. By experimenting with a variety of materials and mediums, we’ll will witness firsthand the intriguing, beautiful results that can happen! Campers will participate in weekly sketching activities in their very own art sketchbook.

Weekly themes for Junior Naturalists are as follows:

River Rangers
June 27- July 1

Interested in science and ecology? Want to learn how to design your own research? Campers will collect data, conduct scientific investigations and design experiments using real scientific
equipment. Each day campers will work on their investigation as they ask and answer their own scientific questions.

Aug 1-5

Be inspired by the natural world! Conduct mini science experiments and use digital microscopes to create nature – inspired works of art through sketching, painting, and mixed media. Campers will work on multi-day projects building on what they learned the day before.

‘Estuary’ Magazine of Old Lyme Celebrates Second Anniversary with Spring 2022 Edition 

The cover of the Spring 2022 ‘estuary’ magazine.

OLD LYME — Estuary Magazine, Life of the Connecticut River, founded in 2020 by Estuary Ventures of Old Lyme, Conn., celebrates its second anniversary with the publication of its Spring 2022 issue available by subscription or at select retail venues the first week of March. 

Estuary is a unique publication and the only magazine dedicated to the watershed of the Connecticut River, an area twice the size of the state itself.

The source of the 409-mile-long river is near the Canadian border in New Hampshire; it flows down along the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, passing through western Massachusetts and central Connecticut to the estuary, below Middletown, Conn., with Old Saybrook and Essex on the west side, and Old Lyme and East Haddam on the east side. 

Estuary covers the watershed: its history, wildlife, plant life, recreation, conservation, restoration, art and culture.  The people and the future of the Connecticut River are captured in fascinating articles and award-winning photography.

A magazine has thus been created to reflect the rich diversity of the Connecticut River valley, its people, and its potential with content directed to the interests of the more than 2 million people, who live in the watershed. 

“We want our readers to enjoy the Estuary experience and learn through the stories, photographs and other images.,” says Dick Shriver, founder and publisher of the magazine.

He adds, “With regard to conservation and restoration, we believe that as more people learn about the challenges faced by the watershed in lay terms, more people will volunteer and contribute talent and other resources to the care of this special natural resource.”

Estuary’s readership now numbers in the thousands, more than double the number a year ago.  Advertising pages have also more than tripled in the past year.

“Our advertising partners understand and applaud Estuary’s mission and their support demonstrates their commitment to protect, preserve and restore the Connecticut River watershed,” explains Laura Lee Miller, Director of Advertising for estuary.

A story on the Lyme Land Trust can be found in the Spring 2022 edition of ‘estuary’ magazine.

Estuary works closely with the CT River Conservancy (CRC) in Greenfield, Mass.  Headed by Dr. Andrew Fiske, CRC and estuary collaborate to support the work of CRC and other non-profits operating for the benefit of the watershed.  

Thanks to a grant directed to help the magazine, all 700 participants in Lyme Land Trust’s May 22 event, the Tour de Lyme, will receive a free copy of the Spring 2022 issue.  

“The magazine itself is the best marketing tool we have,” notes Shriver, “and the more copies we can put in peoples’ hands, the more support we will have for Estuary and awareness of the work to be done.” 

An example of the type of articles found in estuary is this piece by the late Eleanor Robinson, titled, Meeting of the Waters.

Estuary magazine, is published quarterly and is available in print and online for $40 per year (four issues).  Subscribe now or give as a gift. For either option, visit this link:  https://estuarymagazine.com/subscribe/

Letter to the Editor: Update on Tantummaheag Town Landing Situation Overdue, Required so All Residents Can Understand Outcome

To the Editor:

I am writing all three Selectmen as I have not heard back from [Old Lyme First Selectman] Tim Griswold regarding an update to the Tantummaheag Town Landing after three emails.

It is disappointing that this issue has not been resolved and is no longer on the agenda for your board meetings.

I first notified Tim about this issue in July of 2020, we had a special town meeting in January of 2021 where it was determined that signage would be put up with clear markings as to town/private property. Nothing happened. In the meantime the adjacent property owner did a title search and claims that this property is NOT owned by the town, but is his property. Last time I was at a Board meeting Tim was supposed to arrange a meeting with some people in the neighboring Coult Lane area to meet with the property owners (who continue to make it difficult for people driving to the landing).
Has this meeting been arranged? Why are the people of Coult Lane the only ones included … this is TOWN-owned property. It seems as though that we are conceding to the Frampton’s claims and this is not on Mr. Griswold’s radar and nothing has been done – other than cost of the tax payers money for town attorney fees because of inaction.
Will this be put back on the agenda so the entire town can understand what is going on? Access to the Connecticut River is important for all of the citizens in Old Lyme.
Thank you.
Rebecca Griffin,
Old Lyme.

Around 18 Inches of Snow Blanket Lyme, Old Lyme

On Saturday, Jess Talerico, co-owner of the new Old Lyme Hardware (formerly Christiansen’s), took the snow in her stride. She relaxed for a few minutes outside the store on the Old Lyme Marketplace sipping a drink under a sun umbrella to give her shelter from the storm.

LYME/OLD LYME — Somewhere between 16 and 18 inches of snow fell on Lyme and Old Lyme during Saturday’s nor’easter leaving a white wonderland in its wake.

Snow measurements we have received from residents suggest between 16 and 18 inches fell in the Lymes. Photo by J. Talerico.

Roads were almost deserted in our towns at the height of the storm.

A snow plow begins the monumental task of clearing Old Lyme Marketplace. Photo by J. Talerico.

Despite the strong winds and significant amount of snow, it does not appear that any residents lost power.

More than 16 inches of snow fell in Old Lyme, where this photo was taken. Photo by L. Hautaniemi.

Crews are working diligently to clear the roads and a number of vehicular accidents have been reported.

A town-wide parking ban remains in effect in Old Lyme through 12 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 30. Move any vehicles on the street into a driveway so the streets can be safely plowed.

Both Lyme and Old Lyme Congregational Churches have moved their Sunday, Jan. 30 services to Zoom only. Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church in Old Lyme has cancelled its 8:30 a.m. Sunday service.

Here are some general rules to follow as you start to dig out from the storm:

  • Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Use generators outside only.
  • Stay indoors and  dress warmly.
  • Prepare for  power outages.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Travel will be hazardous. Stay off the roads as much as possible.
  • Your cell phone will be an important tool during this emergency — make sure it is charged.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and call 911 to report them.
  • Exposure to cold temperatures and sustained winds will contribute to hypothermia and dehydration. If you go outside, dress in layers and wear hats, scarves and gloves. Remove wet clothing as soon as you are back indoors.
  • If there is a fire hydrant on or near your property, please help by keeping it clear for emergency use.
  • Call 911 to report all emergency situations.

Snow was no problem for this dog. Photo by Beth Sullivan.

Dogs and other four-legged animals can have fun in the snow but be sure to keep a keen eye on them to prevent them from getting caught in drifting snow or staying outside in the frigid temperatures for too long

Blitz decided digging in the snow was the order of the day for him! Photo by Beth Sullivan.

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-Chair Explains Why ‘Ames Property’ Acquisition Efforts Ended

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-chair Evan Griswold. Photo courtesy of E. Griswold.

OLD LYME — Several readers raised questions regarding the reasons why the efforts to acquire the two parcels of ‘Ames Property’ donated to the Old Lyme Open Space Commission have concluded.

We contacted the commission and were told that its co-chair Evan Griswold was speaking on behalf of the agency.

Griswold kindly returned our phone call earlier today and explained first that terminating the effort to acquire the parcels was “personally a disappointment” to him since he had invested a great deal of time and energy on the project over the past 18 months. He added, “It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to bring all the parties together.”

He noted that the owner of the properties, Stephen Ames, had been “very patient” throughout the whole process.

Asked what the fundamental issue was that halted the acquisition, Griswold explained that the problem went back to the restrictions that were placed on the five-parcel subdivision by Ames when it was created in 2005. Those restrictions deemed that the lots, in Griswold’s words, were, “really for residential purposes only,” and moreover, “Anyone buying one of the lots would have to commence construction of a house within 18 months of purchase.”

Griswold commented that the Open Space Commission by its very nature was not planning any construction and that its intentions were to preserve the 35 acres of land, adding that the most ‘construction’ they would undertake would be some signage and trail map information.

A second issue was that the access road for all five lots was established as a private road.

Noting that all the homeowners would have to be on board in order for the restrictions to be waived to allow for a house not to be built and to give access to the two lots in question over the private road, Griswold said, “one neighbor objected.”

Two of the three remaining lots not included in the proposed land acquisition are sold and Griswold said he believes the third is currently on the market.

While stressing his disappointment with the outcome, he noted that as a “someone involved in real estate for over 40 years,” he can appreciate both sides of the situation in that there were, “privacy concerns” for the objecting homeowner. He concluded, “There must be equity for the public and landowners.”

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Announces Efforts to Acquire Two Parcels of ‘Ames Property’ Have Ended, Obstacles “Impossible to Overcome”

The acquisition of the two new ‘Ames Property’ parcels, which cannot now be completed, would have directly expanded the existing 195-acre Ames Family Open Space, which can be accessed from Evergreen Trail (via Boggy Hole Road). Photo credit: OL Open Space Commission. 

OLD LYME —  This afternoon, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission released the following statement on the proposed Ames Property purchase:

“The Old Lyme Open Space Commission deeply regrets that, despite its diligent work over the past 18 months, and the work and support of other Town boards and commissions including the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and the Planning Commission, its efforts to acquire two parcels of the “Ames Property” for addition to the Town’s open space lands have not been successful and have concluded. 

In the end, it proved impossible to overcome obstacles posed by the recorded documents that created the five-parcel subdivision of which the two open-space parcels were a part. 

This outcome is especially unfortunate because acquisition of the open space parcels would have been of great benefit to the Town. The acquisition would have directly expanded the existing Ames Open Space, further protected the Black Hall River watershed, provided additional refuge for endangered species, preserved forest land and its carbon sequestration potential, and moved Old Lyme closer to a town-wide hiking trail.

The possibility of new access to Ames Open Space via a well-constructed and maintained driveway with safe, off-road parking, and potential new trail access by persons with disabilities, including to the existing open space ancient Native-American caves/shelters, would have been another key benefit.

The Open Space Commission thanks the property owner, Steven Ames, for his patient consideration while the Commission pursued the acquisition.”

NOAA Announces Creation of New Protected Area on CT’s Southeast Coast, Includes Several State-Owned Coastal Properties in Lyme, Old Lyme

This map shows the location of the new National Estuarine Research Reserve in southeastern Connecticut. Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The Nature Conservancy celebrates the establishment of Connecticut’s first National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) along southeastern coast of State

LYME/OLD LYME/NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the establishment of a new National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) on Connecticut’s southeastern coast. The new reserve is the 30th in the national reserve system and the first in Connecticut.

“Establishing the Connecticut NERR is a critical step toward enhancing the preservation of Connecticut’s coastal and marine habitats, wildlife and heritage,” said Chantal Collier, director of marine systems conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

She added, “The Nature Conservancy is proud to have worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the University of Connecticut, NOAA and other partners to bring this new level of protection to the Sound that will help us address the challenges facing our estuary and sustain its benefits for local communities.”

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership between NOAA and coastal states. NOAA provides guidance and funding while state departments or universities work with local partners to manage the sites day-to-day. The program is designed to protect and study estuaries and their surrounding wetlands—unique ecosystems that exist in the places where rivers meet the sea.

Located along the southeastern coast of the State, the newly announced reserve spans the lower Connecticut River, the lower Thames River, most of the Connecticut waters of eastern Long Island Sound and western Fishers Island Sound, and several state-owned coastal properties in Groton, Old Lyme, and Lyme.

The boundaries of the Connecticut NERR also include traditional lands of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Mohegan Tribe, Western Nehântick Tribal Nation, Hammonasset Tribe, Wappinger Tribe, and Wangunks Tribe.

The Connecticut NERR encompasses a total of 52,160 acres and a range of ecosystems including coastal forests and grasslands, intertidal marshes, beaches and bluffs, rocky reefs, and seagrass meadows, including 36 percent of the vitally important but imperiled Long Island Sound eelgrass ecosystem.

“These coastal and marine habitats are a haven for a wide variety of plants and animals,” said Collier. “From piping plovers, horseshoe crabs and seals that rest or breed along its shores, to sea turtles, dolphins and whales that forage for food in its waters—the range of species that will benefit from this new protected area is tremendous.”

The designation of the new reserve is not the end of the process, however.

“Now, we are turning our attention to supporting effective implementation of the Connecticut NERR Management Plan that was developed by state and local partners. Successful implementation will help ensure that this reserve realizes its environmental, research, and educational potential,” Collier said.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release from The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

RTP Estuary Center Hosts Virtual Presentation on ‘The State of the Estuary’ by CT Audubon Director, Tonight; All Welcome

CT Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins will give a virtual, interactive presentation on ‘The State of the Estuary,’ Dec. 9. All are welcome.

OLD LYME/VIRTUAL — Join the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. when it presents a virtual, interactive program titled, “The State of the Estuary,” with Patrick Comins, Executive Director of Connecticut Audubon.

Topics will include the state of birds and wildlife in the estuary, conditions in the Connecticut River watershed, advocacy efforts at the state and national level, and what all of us can do to help promote healthy habitats in our own backyards.

The program is free but registration is required. Participants will be able to submit questions via Zoom chat.

A lifelong, dedicated conservationist, Comins was Director of Bird Conservation for Connecticut prior to becoming CT Audubon’s Executive Director in 2017.  A past president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association and recipient of their Mabel Osgood Wright Award in 2001, he has written articles on bird conservation for the Connecticut Warbler and is past chair of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Comins began his career with the CAS doing bird surveys on the coast at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and then worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a biological technician at the refuge. He is the principal author of Protecting Connecticut’s Grassland Heritage.

His talk will highlight environmental improvements we can celebrate along with ongoing concerns.

Visit www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events for more information and registration details.

Named for the internationally and locally renowned artist, scientific illustrator, environmental educator, and conservation advocate, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is known for its work in environmental education, conservation, research, and advocacy to preserve and protect the Estuary and its beauty for generations.

The Center serves young people and adults across the region, offering such programs as birding basics and owl prowls, a CT River ecology course, Estuary Explorations and seasonal nature crafts, as well as summer and vacation camp programs.

Visit this link for further information:  www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-estuary-home/.