Archive by Author | LuAnn Faber

March Happenings

Maybe this post should be titled “March Non- Happenings” due to the cancellations we’ve announced in the past month. But just because we’re not getting together to discuss gardening doesn’t mean gardening isn’t happening. Now is the ideal time to share your thoughts and images with your garden club friends. Email both to your friendly web manager (, who will be thrilled to pass them on to your gardening friends.

You’ll notice a large blank space in this post, just below the next article. Please ignore it and proceed down the page. Your clueless web manager can’t figure out how to delete it.

One Promise Tree activity took place before the big lock-down. Rosemary S. gave this report:

Since we couldn’t yet dig in our gardens, we met to dig into our family roots!  We met on Wednesday March 5th at the Exeter Family History Center on Hampton Falls Rd. Helpers were ready to assist and members were ready to research.

Becky copied pages from old family albums to a flash drive. 

Meredith started her family tree. 

Mary Ellen and Ann C and their husbands digitized slides.

Johann restored an old photo.

Donna R and Ann H searched records and gathered information about their ancestors. 

We all had fun and everyone left with something special they learned about their family or a keepsake to give to their family. 

Lee’s garden is already abloom. She shared this photo of her irises. “On the far left is a dark bronze, in middle, white, and on the right a yellow and purple variety.  There may also be a yellow one in the group as well.”

And this is what Lee had prepared for our regretfully postponed Indoor Yard Sale…

Looking for some reading (or listening) material now that you have lots of at-home time? Here are a few suggestions, mostly garden-related, that you may find informative and entertaining.

Emma Erler, UNH Extension Education Center Program Coordinator (as seen on WMUR’s Grow it Green) does live discussions about gardening in the Granite State. Click on a link to see her session on:


Vegetable Gardening


Nuisance Wildlife – scheduled for March 9 at 3 pm

Jana Millbocker, one of our recent speakers, has an article on her blog titled “In Defense of Weeds.” Click here to find out why we should be kind to dandelions.

Jumping worms are on the move in New Hampshire and promise to become a serious problem for our forests. UNH has some new information on potting up plants without spreading the wiggly little buggers. Check it out here.

Now that we’re eating at home more, we have more food scraps. Here’s an activity, designed for kids but adult-friendly, that provides an opportunity to “grow your own”. Read here for some indoor veggie gardening ideas.

As you know, our April 16th meeting, which was supposed to feature a Design Surprise by our own members, has been cancelled. At this date, the May 21st meeting is still planned but that could change at any time. You’ll be updated by email of upcoming changes.

Let’s all be grateful that this quarantine is taking place during New Hampshire’s glorious spring season. Enjoy all Mother Nature’s treats and stay safe!

February Happenings

Our recent brief spate of spring weather may have put you in the mood for planning some new plantings. Take a look at Ann H.’s Horticulture Tips here for some helpful information about bringing winter color into your garden.

Members enjoyed February’s general meeting presentation by Sean Radomski on “Garden Water Features”, which included some beautiful examples of how water features can work with plantings to make a glorious garden.

Member Abbie-Jane took time from her winter respite in Florida to share with us photos of the water features in her beautiful Hampton Falls gardens. Thanks for sharing all this color with us during this drab month of March, Abbie-Jane.

Our March general meeting (held jointly with the Rye Driftwood Garden Club) features Kelly Orzel. She is an organic herb farmer, author, and photographer from Bowery Beach Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  Kelly will speak on container gardening which adds intimacy to your outdoor space and is flexible for fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

The title of Kelly’s presentation is “Out of the Box Container Gardening.” Here is her synopsis:

Hit me with your best pot! Whether you have a patio garden or acres of land, container gardens are flexible while adding a bit of intimacy to your outside space. You can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers in pots and yes, even small trees! New and old container ideas will be showcased. Then I’ll talk about which plants are best suited for this type of life, as well as introduce you to unique plant varieties, topiaries, and planting recipes to try. And I’ll tell you my grooming and other maintenance tips to keep your container garden blooming all season long.

Saturday, April 25th, is the date of our Indoor Yard Sale. We’re already receiving requests for table space, so this should be a fun and successful event. Sign up sheets for volunteers are available. Watch for details, coming out soon.

Now that spring and gardening season are approaching, local events are being scheduled to help us sharpen our gardening skills. Here are a few to consider:

Emerald ash borer (EAB) was first found in NH in 2013. It has since been confirmed in 97 towns and is now found in every county in the state. This exotic insect is widely considered the most destructive forest pest in North America and has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States. Join experts from the NH Department of Agriculture, the Division of Forests and Lands, and UNH Cooperative Extension to learn what this means for you. Topics will include how to respond to EAB’s detection in your town, identifying infested trees, and EAB best management practices. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. March 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm, Town of Lee Public Safety Complex, 1st Floor Meeting Room, 20 George Bennett Road, Lee, NH.

Books in Bloom. Area floral designers, both professional and amateur, will display their creations inspired by a component of a book such as its title, the cover artwork, illustrations or general theme. Children and Adult titles will be on display. Come enjoy their beautiful work. Saturday, March 28, 9 am to 3 pm, Kensington Library, 126 Amesbury Road, Kensington, NH.

 “A Garden for Pollinators and Wildlife,” Vicki J. Brown, NH Natural Resources Steward, Pollinator Pathways Organizing Founder and Speaking for Wildlife volunteer, will provide insights on ways to attract butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife to your yard. Presentation includes interactive Q&A and handouts. There is no cost for this program and all are welcome. Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Brentwood Library, 22 Dalton Road, Brentwood, NH.

January Happenings

Beautiful garden blooms are hard to come by in New Hampshire in January. Lee has kindly sent us a picture to brighten our day – taken in her garden bed in Cayman. I’m not sure if we should feel cheered or just jealous…

Lee’s Hibiscus

January’s General Meeting featured Dr. Stephen Hale, who presented a lively discussion of Backyard Birds. The audience was able to identify most of his bird photos, but he may have stumped us on one or two.

Stephen Hale
Look Familiar?

The Environment and Conservation committee presented an extensive overview of native birch trees at the January meeting. We all learned something new about one of our favorite local trees. If you missed the meeting, or the display, you can see it all on the website, under “Garden Talk” or by clicking here.

Susan & Linda V. hosted a novel Promise Tree event — an afternoon with Britain’s leading garden writer and broadcaster, Monty Don (via Netflix). Our intrepid reporter on the scene, Ann H., filed this report:

Big Garden Dreams

What are gardeners to do on a dreary, cold January afternoon? Enjoy each other’s company and talk about gardening, of course. Club members were invited to meet up for a little camaraderie and refreshments and to watch a landscaping program at a time when our own gardens are in a deep winter sleep. How wonderful it was to be greeted by our host home with spring floral displays and a smorgasbord of food and drink…. including a spot of tea for the British program we were about to see.

Are you an amaryllis fan? How many bulbs will you have in bloom this winter? Becky has put together some very useful information about caring for amaryllis bulbs, including methods for saving them over for another year. Check out her Hort Tip here.

Next up for our February 20th general meeting:

A garden water features offer years of joy, relaxation and tranquility.  Come hear about the variety of possibilities and the build process available today.  Our speaker, Sean Radomski, is owner and designer for Aquatopia in Bow, NH.  He believes there is a water feature for every yard, every space and almost every budget.  From DIY to professionally installed, you will be pleasantly surprised at how possible it is to add a wonderful, relaxing aquatic oasis. Bring your own pictures of a space and let Sean show you what is possible!

We’re very pleased to announce that Jan C. and Paula F. are our new Civic Beautification chairs. They will be overseeing the maintenance of the Exeter Bandstand and the holiday decorations for the Historical Society. They’ll co-chair with Donna W., who will continue to manage the Stratham Veteran’s Garden.

The Rye Driftwood Garden Club will meet on Tuesday, Feb 18. They will discussing a creature we don’t usually associate with gardening – lobsters!  Cameron Bonsey, Director of Marketing at Coast of Maine, will present a program called “Why Your Plants Love Lobster: The Story of Calcium, Chitin and Nitrogen”.  He will discuss how one person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure as left-over lobster shells become organic fertilizer. Coffee & refreshments 9:30-10:00.    Suggested donation $5 non-members. Program starts at 10.

On Feb. 20 th at 7 pm Molly Janicki will be presenting “Pollinator Plants and Gardening Tips” at Rye Jr. High School, 501 Washington Rd., Rye. This presentation is sponsored by Pollinator Pathways New Hampshire.

Club Memories — Although our club no longer maintains scrapbooks of our activities, we still have lots of pictures of the highlights of our last 8 years. They’re all stored on our website. Here are a few photos of a very fun event. How many remember this day in June, 2012?

December Happenings

What a busy Holiday month! We had so many opportunities to come together and celebrate, including a cookie exchange hosted by Lee, our Holiday Luncheon, arranged by Lynda and her Herb Committee, Betsy’s famous (or is it infamous?) Swap Shop Yankee Swap, and Susan’s festive and bounteous Holiday Brunch. We hope every member had the chance to participate in at least one of these fun activities.

Thanks to Ann H, we have lots of great photos from those December events — shown here to remind us of what fun we had (and, as always, what wonderful food we enjoyed!)

First, the Luncheon:

There was no lack of laughter or food at Betsy’s Yankee Swap. And Betsy showed her usual impeccable taste in gift selection:

So which of these lovely gifts remained unloved at the Swap’s end?

Amazing, but true. Dianna swapped it for something else.

Members actually did more than party in December. Early in the month, members of Civic Beautification, led by chair Donna W., gathered at the Exeter Historical Society to decorate the building for the holidays. Wreaths and topiaries were assembled, including a wreath for the front door of the Folsom Tavern.

Linda V. has put together an unusual and interesting Horticulture Tip for January. To be sure you don’t miss it, click here.

Backyard Birds” will be the topic of our speaker, Dr. Stephen Hale, at the January 16 general meeting. His presentation will feature common and likely resident and migrant visitors to any backyard in New England. This presentation offers ID tips on some challenging birds that live among us like … for example, Hairy vs. Downy Woodpecker and Purple vs. House Finch. Tips on feeding birds to attract the most diversity will also be provided.

Remember to bring a specimen (or more) from your winter garden for display at the general meeting. We’ve had intriguing and surprisingly beautiful fall & winter stems at the past few meetings — it will be interesting to see what January produces.

Lee has shared with us a photo of her self-pollinating winterberry. A perfectly bright and cheerful image of winter in New England.

And as a postscript, do you ever wonder who looks at this website and learns a little about our club? Maybe not — but as Web Manager, I do. This is what I learned about the past month:

  • 414 people clicked on our website. 21% were return visitors, 79% were new to the website.
  • 279 of them were from the U.S.
  • India, Canada, and the UK accounted for 17, 16, and 13 clicks, respectively.
  • Folks from countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Finland and Nigeria also accessed our website.
  • The most clicked on post on our website was The Language of Roses, from February, 2012.
  • The most clicked on page on our website was our Home Page.
  • The next most popular page was Horticulture Tips.


November Happenings

I think most would agree that the highlight of our month was the General Meeting held jointly with the Hampton Garden Club. It was very well-attended by members of both clubs, the speaker was engaging, and we were able to enjoy a number of presentations set up by both clubs.

Speaker Jana Milbocker spoke about inspiring slides from her book “The Garden Tourist.”

From Ann H. and Connie, co-chairs of the Design Committee:

With Thanksgiving around the corner, our arrangers at the November Design Workshop created seasonal fall arrangements using fresh and artificial flora and locally sourced dried and fresh materials from plants and tree foliage.  Participants mixed and matched flowers in a variety of colors and styles using our provided baskets as containers or their own personal containers. All these lovely arrangement were displayed the following morning at our November general meeting.

Arrangers hard at work.

Here are the beautiful results:

What would the holiday season be without holly? Learn all about this seasonal favorite in this month’s Horticulture Tips, provided by Pat N. of the Horticultural Committee. Click here.

Coming up at our January General Meeting …

Thursday, January 16, “Backyard Birds” will be the topic of speaker, Dr. Stephen Hale.