Beautification Commission


  • Sarah Schwarz (U), Chairman
    Term Expires: November 30, 2024
  • Kirsten Dunlap (U)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2025
  • Elizabeth Hall (D)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2020
  • Colleen Kalvaitis (U)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2022
  • Melissa Kelley (R)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2026
  • Alicia Peperone (U)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2023
  • Amanda Segura (R)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2023
  • Jackie Stoddard (U)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2022
  • Tracey Whitehead (R)
    Term Expires: November 30, 2022

The Town does hereby create a Beautification Commission which shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen for three-year terms commencing on December 1 of the year of their appointment. (Code 1972, § 54-1; Res. of September 25, 1990; Amd. of June 12, 2018(3)


The Darien Beautification Commission was incorporated into the town government as a full commission in 1991 for the purpose of "stimulating and coordinating public and private actions for maintaining and improving the overall physical appearance of Darien." Commission members meet monthly to review current projects, plan new ones, and discuss issues related to the maintenance of the spring hanging baskets, 30+ islands along the town's roadsides and the Adopt-A-Garden program.

Darien Beautification Commission Gardens

The Darien Beautification Commission strives to create and maintain gardens around Darien using predominantly native plants, trees and shrubs. Native plantings create habitat for pollinators and require no synthetic chemicals. Most have deep root systems which help aerate the soil (making it better able to absorb and retain water to prevent erosion and flooding). These deep root systems also help filter and cleanse water. The Commission strives to remove invasive plants before working in any area but sometimes invasives appear after planting because seeds are dropped by birds or simply blown onto the area.

Recent work by the Beautification Commission includes “Habitat Hill” - the slopes either side of the staircase leading down from Town Hall to the Mather Center. 

We thank Pam Chin for the beautiful design for educational signage describing the importance of pollinators and each of the native plants and shrubs we planted. The sign also encourages residents to create similar, safe habitats for pollinators in their own backyards. 

There is an old saying that in the first year the plants sleep, in the second they creep and in the third they leap but our plants started to leap from the get-go!

The Senior Men’s woodworking built four birdhouses for the Commission. The Department of Public Works attached them to the concrete walls at the top of the slopes. 

The Berm at Darien RR Station

The Berm at the Darien RR Station (the banks by Squab Lane on the Northbound side of the station) was planted by the Commission with many trees and shrubs a few years ago but has become overrun with invasives such as Japanese Knotweed, Mugwort and Tree of Heaven (a breeding ground for the Spotted Lanternfly). In the summer of 2022, the Commission started an ambitious project to try to rid the Bern of these invasives without resorting to the use of chemicals. 

Memorial Gardens

We currently look after two memorial gardens:

Amy’s Smile Garden

Amy’s Smile Garden is named for Amy Buffington McCann who passed away at the age of 45 in 2012. The memorial garden is named for the beautiful smile that her husband and three children always brought to her face. The garden was funded by donations from Amy’s family and friends to recognize her passion for gardening. We recently had help from the Scout BSA troop to clean up the garden!

The Varina Steuert Garden

In addition to her many artistic interests, Varina Steuert was an accomplished and award-winning gardener. She was President of the Garden Club of Darien which honored Varina following her death in 2012 by creating the Varina Steuert Award. This award is given each year to a member “whose consistent generosity, graciousness, and overall kindness in her service to the Garden Club has encouraged a spirit of friendliness, enthusiasm and devotion among the membership”. The Varina Steuert Garden was funded in Varina’s name in honor of her horticultural talents.


The Darien Beautification Commission works closely with local organizations generously wanting to contribute to the aesthetic and environmental beautification of Darien.

Noroton Heights RR Station – The Commuter Action Group

We have recently partnered with The Commuter Action Group which has donated funds to help us revitalize the two neglected beds between the parking lots on the Southbound side of the Noroton Heights RR Station. We have weeded and mulched and have planted a selection of colorful native plants, including white Echinacea, purple Anise Hyssop and pink Silene. We are hopeful that the deer won’t visit this urban space and will post more photos as we progress!

The Veterans’ Memorial Circle at Town Hall – The Garden Club of Darien

In 2021, the Garden Club of Darien allocated funds to replant, and to provide for some ongoing maintenance for, the Veteran’s Memorial Circle in front of Town Hall. We planted low shrubs, including Inkberry, Mountain Laurel (the Connecticut state flower) and Low Bush Blueberry at the front of the Circle so as not to obscure the memorials. We also planted pink phlox and pink tickseed to add some color at the sides.

Hanging Baskets

The Darien Beautification Commission is responsible for buying the colorful hanging baskets that adorn the lamps along the Post Road, at the beaches and in some of our parks.

Adopt A Garden

The Darien Beautification Commission coordinates the “Adopt a Garden” program which offers traffic islands, land alongside I- 95 ramps and well-traveled intersections to landscapers, businesses and other organizations to plant and tend. There are about 20 such gardens in Darien and several are available for adoption! We provide an attractive “Adopt a Garden” sign to our gardeners with the organization’s name and offer publicity as well.

The Commission would like to thank the participants for their efforts.:

Native Plants, Trees and Shrubs for Your Property

The Pollinator Pathway has a complete listing of native plants, trees and shrubs that are ideal for home landscaping. Also available for download are charts to show the bloom times of various plants through the seasons.

By planting native, you will enjoy a wide variety of pollinators – but be careful to avoid creating an “ecological trap” by luring pollinators with native plantings but harming them through the use of chemicals in your yard. These plants require no chemicals and by adding natives to your landscape, you will attract beneficial insects to keep at bay the ones you don’t want.

Invasive Plant Threats in Your Landscape

Here is a list of invasive plant species. This link also contains a calendar to show optimal times for non-chemical removal of the top ten invasive plants. Remember that when you remove an invasive, you are not only clearing it from your own property, but, assuming you remove it correctly, you will be helping prevent the spread of that plant across town.