First Wave of CT Hort Cares Grants Awarded

Earlier this year, the Board of Directors approved the establishment of a Civic Projects Committee. Its purpose is to administer a grant program in support of community projects that educate state residents on the importance of plants and the environment. The application window for this first round of grants was March 1-April 30. Fourteen candidates applied to receive a mini-grant of up to $500 with a total sum of $2,500 available.

Here are this term’s winners:

Cohen Butterfly-Pollinator Garden Revitalization, Colchester – $500 award
Project Administrator: Colchester Garden Club (CGC)
This mature community garden needs a facelift with many perennials having outgrown or overgrown their space. School groups use the gardens for science activities. The CGC use the gardens for educational sessions and the general public is always welcome. CGC and community volunteers will re-diversify the garden, selling plants that have exceeded their boundaries and replacing them with additional butterfly/pollinator-friendly varieties.

Bristol Boys & Girls Club Pizza Garden, Bristol – $200 award
Project Administrator: Bristol Garden Club (BGC)

BGC members mentor a summer gardening program in conjunction with the Cambridge Park Unit summer camp of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club. The camp introduces children to gardening and all that goes along with that responsibility–fellowship, patience and the art of preparing a meal with the harvest. Their award will be used to replace worn supplies such as hoses, watering cans, gloves and tools.

Ballard Green Community Garden, Ridgefield – $350 award
Project Administrator: Ridgefield Garden Club (RGC)

Ballard Green is a development of 63 independent living residences for seniors and disabled individuals. Some are food insecure and/or clients of Meals on Wheels. The RGC will establish a raised bed vegetable garden with the help of residents interested in helping and learning about soil health,  seed selection, planting, growing, feeding, pest control and harvesting. Their award will be used to help with the cost to build a raised bed, add soil and amendments, and buy the vegetable plants.

If you would like to donate to this initiative, you are able to indicate your preference when donating online on our website.

Conservatory Renovation at Mark Twain House & Museum (MTH&M), Hartford – $500 award
Project Administrator: MTH&M

The Mark Twain House Conservatory was vandalized this past winter, causing the majority of their plants to die after being exposed to below-freezing weather. This loss is not covered by insurance and the MTH&M is approaching local organizations for help. The completed project will promote horticultural knowledge to visitors by providing a tangible example of historical in-home gardens and plants. The Conservatory and plantings are often listed as the favorite part of the house tour in post-visit surveys.

Community Garden of Joy Youth Summer Camp, Seaside Park, Bridgeport – $500 award
Project Administrator: Community Garden of Joy

Underserved youth are able to participate in the summer camp. Children learn about growing and eating fresh foods to improve overall health. During the last round, the children spent 6 weeks in the garden learning about soil, plants, germination, pollination and appreciation for gardening. Participants said it was an experience that they will never forget. The Cares grant will be used to help cover program costs.

Pollinator Pathways Signage, Willimantic – $450 award
Project Administrator: Garden Club of Windham (GCOW)

GCOW has planted pollinator-friendly habitat at three locations around Willimantic. The three locations are key recreational and public spaces scattered through the community, and their heavy use by the general public creates exceptional opportunities for outreach. Native plantings installed over the last several years have become established and more conspicuous to users of the parks, making it an ideal time to explain some of the gardening practices – such as why leaf litter and plant stalks are still in place over the winter and into spring; to conspicuously label patches of native plants and explain their roles in the habitat; and to point out invasive plants and their detrimental impacts. Their award will be used to purchase nine signs to be used among the three sites.

Each of the groups who received an award will keep us posted on the progress of their project.
They have also agreed to post a sign or plaque that indicates the support that CT Hort has provided for their project.

We anticipate being able to offer two rounds–fall and spring–of Cares grants in the upcoming 2023-24 CT Hort Season. You’ll find all the latest news about this new program on our website at If you would like to donate to this initiative, you are able to indicate your preference when donating online on our website. We welcome your comments and questions; please send an email to [email protected].

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