Archive by Author | LuAnn Faber

May Happenings

Kelly Orzell, author of The Backyard Gardener, was our featured speaker at the April general meeting. She talked about container gardening, which is of particular interest to many members, and shared a number of inspiring and gorgeous floral designs – some in very unlikely containers. As usual, our meeting was full of various activities, sign-ups, and garden information.

Kelly Orzell container designs

Linda V. and Betsy V. discussed the Environment & Conservation Beautification Mini Grants which were awarded this spring. Ten grants, totalling almost $2000 will be used by Stratham and Exeter residents to plant pollinator gardens on their properties, with the hope that a Pollinator Corridor can be created in these two towns. The funds have been disbursed and the gardens are in process. In the fall, E&C will tour the resulting gardens and present the club with photos of the results.

In addition to mini grant gardens, E&C member Jill C. presented members with a “bug challenge.” Each member was given a container and asked to capture one indoor insect from their homes, which will be evaluated at the May meeting. It’s unknown if there will be prizes – biggest bug, most legs, most disgusting? – but the results should be interesting. If you missed the April meeting and would like to participate, bring your entry in a sealed container. It’s suggested that you freeze it so that it doesn’t disintegrate before the big reveal.

Wednesday, June 14, is our club’s big Spring celebration – our fabulous Annual Spring Luncheon and Plant Auction. Luncheon preparations are almost complete, thanks to Paige C. and her creative committee. The deadline for sign-up and payment are fast approaching. Do not miss this fun event! Details about the luncheon can be found here.

Johann S. reminds us that, with nicer weather here and the plant auction approaching, members should pot up their plants with coffee filters in the bottom of the pots, label them, and include any special care information. Becky Mitchell’s very helpful potting suggestions can be found here.

EAGC was asked to participate in the YMCA’s April 29th Healthy Kids’ Day, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families. Several of our members spent a few hours helping kids pot up veggies and flowers, hopefully encouraging them to become the gardeners of the future.

The upcoming May general meeting is a special one – some of our own members will be interpreting their favorite books with floral arrangements. “Books Make Me Bloom” has been organized by our Design committee, chaired by Ann H. and Patti S., and shines a light on the talents of our members annually at this time of year. May is also the month that we will be voting on our budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. If you haven’t already looked it over, you can find the budget on the website here.

May is the month to sign up for a week to help with our community service projects. Although our club no longer maintains the Exeter Bandstand, we certainly have a hand in helping to beautify some prominent local spots. The Veterans Memorial Garden in Stratham has some unfilled weeks this summer. Pulling weeds in such a beautiful & peaceful garden is never a chore. Contact Dianna T. if you’d like to take a week.
In Exeter, our club is maintaining the beds in front of the American Independence Museum. We’ve made impressive improvements in the past year and now need more volunteers to stop in a few times a week to pull a few weeds and enjoy the beauty. Linda S. will be happy to find a week for you.
And back in Stratham, we’re maintaining pots at the entrance to the Municipal Center. Contact Linda S. to help out with this project. Sign up sheets will also be available at the May meeting.

Former Award Winner

Our Awards Committee is still on the lookout for special gardens, residential and commercial, to be considered for our Outstanding Garden Awards, which are presented in the fall. Some gardens have been recommended, but more suggestions are welcome. The committee will be touring gardens as soon as they mature, so contact Carmen G. if you’ve noticed a garden that really stands out as special.

So many spring garden opportunities! Here are a some of them:

  • Peggy Moore, an award-winning floral designer, who has entered designs in WAFA (World Association of Floral Artists) meetings numerous times, will share backstories of competing in international floral design circles including some of the mishaps and challenges. Thursday, May 18, at 10:30 AM at the First Parish Church Hall, 180 York Street, York, Maine. This is sponsored by the Piscataqua Garden Club. There is a non-member charge of $5.00 at the door.
  • The Hampton Garden Club is hosting a Plant, Bake, & Shed Sale on Saturday, May 20, 9 AM til noon, at the Centre School, 53 Winnacunnet, in Hampton. For more info, click here.
  • The Great Island Garden Club (New Castle, NH) has invited us to a once-in-400-year event that celebrates the upcoming 400th anniversary of the settling of New Castle, NH in 1623. “The Secret Gardens of New Castle” is a self-guided walking tour of some of the most beautiful home gardens in the town’s Historic District. Friday, June 16, 5 to 7:30 PM and Saturday, June 17, 10 AM to 3 PM (rain or shine). Tickets are now available at $20 advance, $25 day of. More details can be found at

And finally, Lynda B. has gifted us once again with her Exeter photos – Spring in Exeter:

April Happenings

Our March meeting was all about verticality, tarragon, and St. Patrick’s Day. Andi Ross, who is a landscape designer, garden coach, horticulturalist, oil painter, and founder of “It’s Nature’s Way” gave an informative talk about going vertical in our gardens. She accompanied her talk with inspiring photos of vertical garden elements which lead the eye upwards and save space.

Carol C treated us to another one of her wonderful Herb presentations – this time featuring tarragon. We learned so much about the herb, it’s history and uses, while learning how Carol incorporates tarragon into her cooking. If you missed the meeting or didn’t get a chance to read Carol’s tarragon information in the March Hort Tips, you can find it here.

Our Hospitality Committe came through again with a very St. Patty’s-themed table and refreshments – always a highlight of our meetings! In addition, Johann updatated us on our upcoming Yard Sale (more about that later) and our Promise Tree table was busy.

As of April 15, all ten of the vendor table spaces at our Yard Sale have been rented. We’re down to the wire now – set-up for the sale at the Stratham Municipal Center is this Friday, the 21st from 2 to 5, and the sale will open the next day at 8 a.m. Be sure to have your donations of plants, baked goods, and garden items delivered to the municipal center on Friday between 2 and 5 or before 8 a.m on Saturday. Lee C. hosted a “potting party” at her home on Friday the 14th, where a small team dug and potted up some of her happy & healthy plants for the sale.

Kelly Orzell, one of our favorite speakers, will be discussing Container Gardening at the April 20 meeting. here’s what she has in store for us: “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.”


If you’d like to learn more about Ikebana, the Rye Driftwood Garden Club is hosting Elaina Hatsis on Tuesday, April 18. She will be discussing “Japanese Flowering Arranging.” More details can be found here.

EAGC’s Design Committee has scheduled a members’ Design Workshop for Thursday, May 25, 2-4 pm, at the Stratham Municipal Center. We will be building arrangements incorporating wood as a natural and organic element to our designs. Details and sign-up will be available at our April 20 meeting.

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is presenting their Art in Bloom on Friday, June 23, through Sunday, June 25. Interested in tickets? Or maybe in competing? Go to

Our club has been focusing this year on planting more native plants for the benefit of our pollinators. The American Horticultural Society published an article recently about native groundcovers and the invasives we should avoid, entitled Go Native with Groundcovers. Check it out here.

March Happenings

Members generally agreed that our March meeting was one of the more informative and helpful meetings we’ve had recently. The topic, presented by our Environment & Conservation committee, was “Water: Drought Tolerant Plants for a Drier Future – An Interactive Discussion” and focused specifically on native species. Each member of the committee addressed a different aspect of the topic, with Betsy and Linda V. summarizing and wrapping up the presentation.

Helpful lists were assembled of native plants, including their drought tolerance and attractiveness to pollinators. These lists can be found on the Speaker Notes page of our website, here. Members who had completed a list of the plants in their own gardens, were able to make note of how many of those plants were native. Pat N. impressed us with the highest percentage of natives, winning a prize of flower seeds (natives, of course.)

Two books highly recommended for info on native plants

At the meeting, Johann S. discussed our upcoming Plant, Bake and Yard Sale, scheduled for April 22 at the Stratham Municipal. Members are encouraged to start some plants now to bring to the sale. Details and information on volunteer sign-ups have been emailed to members.

Here are a few garden-related online and in-person activities to check out:

March 10–19: The Great Grow Along Online at A free, 10-day virtual festival connecting and inspiring gardeners worldwide with the influencers, taste-makers, and cutting-edge content of today’s gardening world.

March 21, 2023 Tuesday, from 9:45-11:15. The Rye Garden Club presents Margaret Witham with topic “How to Grow Garlic”. At the Rye Congregational Church.

The American Horticultural Society has an article in this month’s edition “Gardening for Native Bees”, that is available to the general public. Find it here.

And of course, our own general meeting on March 16 featuring Andi Ross with topic “Let’s Go Vertical”. This talk will give ideas for adding height to your gardens. Andi is a landscape designer and lecturer. 9:30-11:30 in the Morgera Room of the Stratham Fire Station.

Dianna T. was kind enough to share a photo of her Clivia in bloom this month. It’s no doubt a first cousin of many other club members’ clivias. This one is certainly a very healthy & happy speciman!

February Happenings

Wendy Snow Fogg, our speaker at the January meeting, enthusiastically presented “Herbs for a Healthy Immune System” to members and guests, gifting some in the audience with samples of her herbal tinctures. If you missed her talk, a video of it is available to club members on our website. It can be found on the Speaker Notes page.

The meeting also included an Environment & Conservation display on the importance of snow measurement as part of their year of exploring water. Promise Tree offerings and an inviting refreshment table, in shades of blue, were also available to meeting members.

Our February 16th general meeting will feature our own Environment & Conservation committee, who have put together an interactive presentation on water usage in our gardens: what we plant and how we can garden to conserve water as our summers continue to be drier.

Each member will be bringing for discussion a list of the plants in their gardens to help analyze water consumption. We’ll also be discussing the Pollinator Mini-Grants, applications for which are now available. This is in addition to our uncommonly delectable refreshment table, our Promise Tree, and other fun club activities.


The EAGC board meets almost every month during our garden club season. To learn what the board discusses and the decisions made, check out the Minutes on our website, under the Members Only page. They’re updated monthly.

Ruth Smith, from the Rockingham County Extension office has announced a series of gardening workshops presented by the NH Master Gardeners at their Demonstration Gardens. Click on the links to get more info or to register:
• February 18 – Great Gardens Start with Great Plans
• March 27 – Gardening for the Birds! – How to Enhance Your Yard for our Feathered Friends
• April 13 – Rain Gardens – What are They and Why are They Important?

Former EAGC member, Dorothy Cole, passed away this past October. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know her will appreciate the lovely tribute put together by the UNH Extension. You can read it here.

The Rye Driftwood Garden Club will be hosting Jamie Colon of Fuller Gardens in Rye on Tuesday, Feb. 21. He will be presenting “Dispelling Garden Myths.” For more info, check here.

December Happenings – Part Two

With the holidays behind us, most of us are probably enjoying the quiet time of January – reading a book, browsing seed catalogs, or just appreciating homes newly cleared of holiday decorations. (Apologies to Anne C., who is in the midst of moving to a new home and would no doubt love to be quietly reading a book.) Before we dive into the new garden club year, let’s wrap up 2022 with photos of our final holiday celebrations.

An especially large group of members celebrated the season, and each other, at our annual Holiday Luncheon at the Wentworth by the Sea Country Club. A social hour kicked off the fun, followed by a delicious meal and our customary gift exchange. Thanks go to Nancy D. for organizing the event, assisted by her talented Hospitality committee.

Susan C. prepared a holiday feast for members on December 16 – a Promise Tree event that Susan has been hosting for several years. Anyone who is familiar with Susan’s cooking skills knows that attendees were treated to a bounty of delicious food. And her holiday decorations alone are well worth the visit.

The speaker for our next general meeting, Wendy Snow Fogg, is from Misty Meadows Herb Garden in Lee, NH. She will present “Herbs to Support A Healthy Immune System.” As she explains, “In this time of mutating viruses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and oh so much angst, our immune systems have taken a mighty wallop! But Mother Earth provides plants to help us regain our strength and, yes, even our confidence and hope.” We’ll be meeting as usual at 9:30 on Thursday, Jan. 19 in the Mogera Room of the Stratham Fire Department.

If you’d like to learn more about heirloom gardening, the Rye Driftwood Garden Club will be sponsoring John Fortis, Heirloom Gardener, who will be speaking about “Traditional Plants & Skills” on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the Rye Congregational Church. More info can be found at

Gardening, or communing with nature in general, is certainly limited during these cold months. Watching our local birds compete for a turn at the birdfeeder is an entertaining diversion, for sure, but how about hand feeding-birds for a much more fulfilling adventure? Some of you may have cultivated such close relationships with your neighborhood birds that they’ll come to your hand for lunch, but most of us haven’t had that experience. It takes time, lots of patience, and an impressive tolerance for the cold to train birds to trust our good intentions, as we stand – stock still – in our freezing backyards hopefully offering a handful of birdseed.

Luckily, there’s another way. According to the Boston Globe, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, MA, is home to flocks of chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches tame enough to perch on any hand that offers a seed snack. The Innermost Trail, a short walk from the parking lot, is said to be the best place for successful hand-feeding. If you’re interested in experiencing some “hands-on” winter adventure, you can find more info about the sanctuary at