Karen Ellsworth of Farmington (center) displays the 2012 CHS Service Award presented to her at the May 2012 program meeting. With her are CHS Awards Chairman Elaine Widmer and CHS President Steve Silk.
2012 CHS Service Award Winner: Karen Ellsworth
by Elaine Widmer
Consistently, quietly and with a smile on her face, Karen Ellsworth regularly gives back to the Connecticut Horticultural Society.
As chairman for 10 years of the CHS Hospitality Committee, she has ensured that members and guests have coffee, tea and kosher cookies at each CHS meeting. She buys the goodies, sets a beautiful table and then, yes, she cleans it all up.
You’ll also find Karen helping at CHS plant auctions, giving volunteers sustenance in the form of food and drinks. Over the years, she has volunteered at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show in Hartford, helping to plant the display gardens or serving as a greeter. As Holiday Potluck Chairman Fran Schoell’s right-hand assistant, she helps ensure that the annual event goes off without a hitch.
Karen joined CHS about 20 years ago as a diversion from her full-time job as an elementary school teacher in Farmington. She loved the society’s meetings and the pleasant distraction of learning about plants. She recruited her mom to CHS, and they have enjoyed many overseas and day trips.
“It’s the camaraderie and friendships that I’ve made at CHS that keep me coming back,” Karen says. “I’ve found the people to be so welcoming.”
Her advice to new members is to “take your time to consider the many opportunities available at CHS, then choose one and just get involved. There’s really something for everyone in this plant community.”
In her garden, Karen has taken the advice of many recent CHS speakers and removed most of the grass in her backyard. Her flower garden includes her favorite spring plants—daffodils, jonquils and hellebores—and she also maintains a small vegetable garden. That garden gives sustenance to the chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits.
Her commitments don’t stop with CHS. She volunteers at her church, where she maintains the memorial garden and has become an expert apple pie baker. Four days a week she is a patient-relations volunteer at the John Dempsey Hospital at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. She also volunteers at Ten Thousand Villages in West Hartford.
Congratulations to one busy lady.