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Newsletter of the Friends of Chatham

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From Fitzhugh to Faberge

Chatham Chatter

4th Quarter, October - December 2020


Upcoming Events

Saturday, Oct 17th @ 1pm
A Real Live Member Mingle

We'll meet outside of the Summer House on the driveway side (picnic area). Our speaker will be Luisa Dispenzirie, Museum Curator/Cultural Resource Manager at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Bring your lawn chairs, practice social distancing, wear your face covering, and bring a snack or drink if you want. In case of inclement weather or water line disruption, we'll send an Email-blast alert to change the Member Mingle to a Zoom event.


 

Sunday, Nov 15th @ 3:30pm
Photography Tips
 

Kevin Brown of Friends of Chatham and some of the photographers who post on the Facebook page, On the Fredericksburg Va Trails, will share tips on taking photographs, including photo composition and how best to use light effectively when taking photographs using various devices. This will be a fun event!

President's Message

As this year of challenges continues, the Board of Directors of Friends of Chatham has looked to reach out to our members virtually through our first Zoom Member Mingle at lunchtime on September 18th. As part of our "Sharing Chatham Stories" series of programs, over 20 participants enjoyed a presentation by Hilary Grabowska, Interpretive Ranger at Chatham Manor about some of the 20th century women who shaped the history of Chatham, and a presentation by Superintendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding about the state of the park, with special attention to the ongoing improvements being made by Stafford County and the NPS at Chatham to the water line that services the site, the on-going conditions at Chatham and the other visitor sites within the park. The water line work is in process as I write this, and, while the grounds remain open, there may be some alternative ways to enter the walled formal garden area as the work continues, and there will be a couple of days when the restroom facilities will not be open.

While the water line work is a temporary situation, Covid-19 continues to affect the normal operations at Chatham. The manor house remains closed to the public because of the difficulty in maintaining social distancing, but you can still enjoy the gardens and grounds from sunrise to sunset, and the public restrooms by the parking lot are open for much of the day. 

Friends of Chatham will be holding two outdoor events at Chatham this fall, weather permitting. 

A Member Mingle will be held on Saturday, October 17th at 1 pm outside of the Summer House on the driveway side. Luisa Dispenzirie, Museum Curator/Cultural Resource Manager at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will share with our members and guests details about what she does and about some of the interesting artifects and relics she has discovered at Chatham. Bring your lawn chairs, practice social distancing, wear your face covering, and bring a snack or drink if you want. We look forward to seeing everyone in person, but in case of inclement weather or water line disruption, we'll send an E-blast alert to change the Member Mingle to a Zoom event. If anything, 2020 has trained us all to be flexible! 

On Sunday, November 15th at 3:30 pm or so and as the sun sets, Kevin Brown of Friends of Chatham and some of the photographers who post on the Facebook page, On the Fredericksburg Va Trails, will share tips on taking photographs, including photo composition and how best to use light effectively when taking photographs using various devices. This will be a fun event! More details later ...

Thanks to Cathy Walker, Vice President, for coordinating these events.

And, come January when you visit Chatham, you'll see some planting going on in the older Chatham greenhouse closest to the walled garden. Friends of Chatham gardener, Scott Blake, will be guiding some of our faithful garden volunteers in growing seed plugs for the annuals that will grace the parterre and long beds in the formal gardens in 2021, as the initial experiment at bringing the greenhouses back to life. The greenhouse restoration is just about complete and we can't wait to start growing plants for use at Chatham in 2021! Thanks to Carol Hyland, Projects Director and Garden Volunteer Coordinator, for spearheading this effort. This new project is the initial activity after months 0f planning meetings of the Greenhouses Team, led by Monique VanLandingham, Program Manager for the National Park Service, together with John Storke, Chief of Maintenance, Scott Shea, Eric Mink, Hilary Grabowska, all of FSNMP, Deane Collie of America's National Parks Store, and Carol Hyland, Director of Projects and myself.

The Greenhouses Team meets with Brooke Derr & Marissa Donohue of the 
Olmstead Center for Landscape Preservation of the National Park Service at the Chatham Greenhouses



Lastly, if you haven't had a chance to renew your membership to Friends of Chatham, please visit our website at friendsofchatham.org and click on the MEMBERSHIP tab. Your membership assures that you will be notified of upcoming events, helps to fund the on-going compensation of our part-time gardener, and will help fund future preservation and interpretive projects, events and educational opportunities at Chatham Manor for the benefit of the Fredericksburg Area community, Stafford County residents, and beyond. Thank you for your continued support! 

Nancy Fahy


Renew Your Membership!

Come join us at Chatham for the season that many feel is our best time of the year. With the return of cool temps and rich, warm autumn colors makes now a visit to Chatham and its lovely gardens a real delight. The Friends of Chatham garden volunteers have been very busy and have kept the gardens looking lovely. The Friends of Chatham have contributed so much to the ongoing programs and facilities that it is not an exaggeration to say that we couldn't do it without them.

It is little wonder that many in our region consider Chatham the #1 place to visit in the Fredericksburg area .... and we are fortunate that this treasure is right in our own back yard. If you are not a member and want to join, please visit our website at friendsofchatham.org and click on the MEMBERSHIP tab. We would love to have you join us.

If you have not renewed your membership for 2020 - 2021, please consider renewing your membership now. It is no exaggeration to say that we need your continued membership support now more than ever.

Sunlight Garden Club Visits Chatham

After one postponement due to rain, members and guests of the Sunlight Garden Club made their long-planned visit to Chatham on Monday, September 28. The group arranged their lawn chairs in the picnic area behind the Summer House (following social distancing and wearing face coverings, of course) and the program started with a presentation about the history of Chatham and its gardens. Carol Hyland, Friends of Chatham’s Projects Director, spoke about the restoration of the mansion and creation of the Colonial Revival style garden in the 1920’s. She focused on the role of pioneering female landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman in designing the garden and noted that the Chatham garden features the elements that became the signatures of Shipman’s garden designs. Because only a handful of Shipman designed gardens have survived, Chatham’s garden is significant and worthy of preservation. Carol also spoke about the role of Friends of Chatham and other area non-profit organizations in working with the National Park Service, supporting the garden and sponsoring other preservation and renovation projects at Chatham.

After the presentation, and to escape the barrage of large chestnuts falling from the trees in the picnic area, the visitors moved on to the garden. There gardener Scott Blake spoke about the variety of perennials in the garden and the yearly effort to maintain color in the garden year-round by adding seasonal annuals. Scott pointed out garden highlights, talked about the plant varieties used in the Demonstration Garden, and answered questions for our guests as they strolled through the garden.

Despite the chestnuts and a few annoying raindrops, the Sunlight Garden Club visit was a pleasant respite which seemed to be enjoyed by the attendees. Many thanks to Friends of Chatham President Nancy Fahy for her work preparing for this event and for greeting and chatting with visitors. Thanks also to Public Relations and Marketing Director Beth Stenstrom for her assistance and support, and for serving as event photographer.

From the Garden

The garden always sees many changes from mid-summer to early fall, and this year was no exception. In July, we were still adding some of the leftover annuals to various flower beds to replace those that had not survived. The extra rain in August brought plant growth that filled out the beds with cheerful summer colors. Gardener Scott Blake and the volunteers have been busy removing spent foliage, weeding and edging the borders of the various beds. Some of the Asters, especially those in the Demonstration Garden, have started to bloom. Soon the annual show of the Asters in the long beds lining the entrance path will be in full color. Autumn in the garden is always beautiful and well worth a visit.

Next on the agenda for Scott and the volunteers will be fall garden clean-up with removal of the summer annuals and installation of pansies to provide winter color. A bit later, it will be time to plant spring blooming bulbs. Daffodils are the plan for the parterre beds this year, so the look will be different but, we hope, equally beautiful. The voles, squirrels and other nasty bulb destroyers are to blame for this change, as the bulb loss rate increased despite the addition of various preventative practices. Tulips will still be planted in other parts of the garden, especially the entrance bed around the statue of Diana. Hopefully all this preparation will contribute to another beautiful spring in the garden.


Did you know you can support FoC when you buy bulbs for your garden from Brent and Becky's Bulbs?  Go to www.bloominbucks.com.  Select Friends of Chatham in the drop down menu, follow the prompts, and start shopping. Twenty-five percent of your purchase will go directly to Friends of  Chatham.

For Sale:  $35 each*
FoC is selling signed and numbered limited edition prints of Chatham Manor by Joseph M. Serino, 18 1/2 in. x 23 3/4 in.   If you are interested in buying a print you can email us at friendsofchatham@gmail.com.  Prints can also be purchased online from our homepage at www.friendsofchatham.org.
* Includes shipping and handling
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