Harriet Koons Memorial Scholarship

Applications for the 2021 Harriet Koons Memorial Scholarship are now available.
 The deadline for submission is June 7, 2021.

The club awards a five hundred dollar scholarship annually to a Southbury resident who is enrolled in an accredited institution, and is majoring in horticulture or a related field of study.

The major must reflect the club’s goals of promoting horticulture, conservation and/or the creative use of plant material.

Please contact Scholarship Chair Helen Smith at 203-405 6304 or at portlandgh@yahoo.com, for full details.

(Click here for Scholarship Application)

Application forms are also available at the Southbury Public Library.



The Town of Southbury declared June 2-8, 2019 "National Garden Week" with an official proclamation recognizing the importance of gardening and the many contributions of the Southbury Garden Club, the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and all gardeners.


First Selectman Jeffery Manville signed the proclamation which acknowledged that gardeners contribute: beauty and nutrition by growing herbs, vegetables, foliage and flowers; preserve the country’s spirit of independence and hard work; strive for a balanced and productive ecology; promote a healthy lifestyle that lasts a lifetime and make a difference in their communities worldwide.


The club also displayed plants and garden-related books throughout the Southbury Public Library.

Because of COVID-19 restriction, there were no official activities marking National Garden Week this year.


The SGC's Pollinator Garden at Settlers Park provides a tranquil spot for local residents to escape the stress of pandemic stress in a beautiful natural setting.

The garden not only provides a beautiful spot to observe pollinators up close, but the covered bulletin board features important educational materials explaining the need for such a project.

President Elizabeth Berlenbach and First Selectman Jeffrey Manville officially dedicated it on June 24, 2019 while a large group of club members and local residents looked on.

This exciting project, designed to celebrate the SGC’s 60th anniversary of civic involvement in the area, addresses the important issue of pollinator decline due to habitat loss, use of pesticides and other environmental factors and provides a habitat for these important birds, bees, butterflies and other insects who play such a vital role in the human food chain. The new garden consists of native plants and no invasive species, reflecting the motto of the 2019 president of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc..

As you enter Settlers Park the garden is located at the first right turn just beyond the horse farm’s paddocks. There is a small parking lot and a large covered bulletin board to mark the spot. It is at the trailhead of a bucolic walking trail and is a wonderful addition to the community. If you haven’t been there yet, it is certainly worth a visit.



The Southbury Garden Club recently purchased a northern red oak tree and donated it to the Town of Southbury. The northern red oak is an adaptable, widely planted species with a rapid growth rate. It will reach a height of 60 to 70 feet and a spread of 40 to 60 feet when fully grown.

Past President Cheryl Smith, said: “Planting a tree is a symbol of hope because it will be enjoyed by future generations and the club hopes area residents will enjoy this tree for many years to come.”

With help from the Town of Southbury Public Works Department Director John Cottell, Public Works Foreman Jim Sugden, and his hard-working crew, the tree was planted on a hill in Community House Park in late spring. A plaque commemorating the event will be added later.

The inspiration for the tree occurred when Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut Past President Jane Waugh installed the new Southbury Garden Club officers and inspired us with her passion for trees.

During her two year tenure Jane chose the theme “Growing Together: Tiny Acorns to Mighty Oaks,” a program encouraging clubs to plants native oaks trees in their communities. She reminded us we don’t plant trees for ourselves, but for future generations. Jane observed: “We have planted a forest of oaks across the state. A lot of tiny acorns are on their way to becoming mighty oaks!”

The program resulted in approximately one hundred new oak trees in communities across the state.

The Southbury Garden Club is a non-profit group and undertakes many civic projects benefitting the local area.




Members of the Southbury Garden Club and the Historical Building Commission joined together to plant and restore historically accurate gardens at the Bullet Hill School in Southbury, one of the oldest surviving brick schoolhouses in New England. It dates back to 1789 and was in use until 1942. The authentic gardens feature plants used in the school’s colonial period.


The volunteers spent several days working hard to thin and transplant existing ferns and iris. They then added lilies, babies’ breath, shasta daisies, black eyed Susan, bleeding heart, lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme.

 Members later returned to add mulch, because watering must be done the old fashioned way… with buckets and watering cans!

The Town of Southbury Public Works Department has now taken responsibility for watering the new gardens.

Future plans includeworking with the Historical Building Commission, to design and plant historically accurate gardens at the "Old Town Hall" in South Britain.


 The Southbury Garden Club is a non-profit organization which undertakes many projects benefitting Southbury and its residents. Here are some of the activities club members have performed recently. Some are traditional endeavors others are new projects.

  • Youth Activities - The SGC conducts workshops workshops and floral related projects in cooperation with the Southbury Public Library, local scout organizations and school teachers and students.

  • Therapy Baskets for Safe Haven – This long standing project is very popular. Each spring  members assemble and decorate dozens of baskets containing a small plant and toiletries for the clients of Safe Haven. Club members also donates gifts during the holiday season. Participation in these projects is strictly voluntarry.

  • Community Garden - During the growing season, club members plant, tend and harvest fresh produce from the club’s plots in Heritage Village and the Southbury Community Garden. Lettuce, tomatoes, beans and other veggies are harvested weekly and brought to the Southbury Food Bank.
  • This activity has taken on special significance during the COVID-19 pandemic when the Southbury Food Bank has experienced an increase in the number of families requiring assistance.
  • Library Flower ArrangementsClub members donate floral arrangements weekly for display in the Southbury Public Library. The club also provides additional floral designs for special library events.
    Although this activity was halted in early spring when the library was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions,  members began donating weekly arrangements again in September 2020.
    As patrons return to the library, there has been a lot of positive feedback about the live arrangements.
    Colonial Herb GardenThe club maintains an herb garden at the Bent of the River Audubon Center, featuring plants and herbs used in colonial times. It is an educational tool for area students and is also a popular site for pictures and wedding ceremonies.

  • Community Gardens in Town Parks – In addition to the Pollinator Garden in Settlers Park, the club plants and maintains public gardens in Ballantine Park and Ewald Park for the enjoyment of area residents.
  • Harriet Koons Memorial Scholarship* - The club awards a five hundred dollar scholarship annually to a Southbury resident who is enrolled in an accredited college, majoring in horticulture or a related field of study which reflects the club’s goals of promoting horticulture, conservation and the creative use of plant material.

*It is named in honor of past club president Harriet Koons. For many years she and her husband, Walter, generously supported many conservation projects in the local area.

For full details contact Scholarship Chair Helen Smith at 203-405-6304 or at portlandgh@yahoo.com.

Application forms are available from Helen, and at the Southbury Public Library.

(Click here for Scholarship Application)

Scholarship applications for the 2021 scholarship are available now.



The Southbury Garden Club has planted and maintained an herb garden at The Bent of the River Audubon facility for over two decades. This herb garden is for public enjoyment and educational purposes and is named in memory of the late Harriet Koons, local philanthropist and past Southbury Garden Club president.

Audubon personnel have noted a large increase in the number of people who use the trails and then stop to enjoy a peaceful moment at the garden.

 In 2019, dedicated club members undertook a major redesign and renovation of the herb garden.
Keeping with the original mission of the Herb Garden, and with guidance from local horticultural expert, Wes Rowley, members spent many hours planting and replacing the entire area with a variety of herbs and species found in 1850 colonial gardens in Connecticut.

  To see the entire project, look under the "picture gallery" section.