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January Happenings

In this edition we’ll, be reviewing some holiday fun in addition to updating the club’s January plans. One of the most anticipated December events is Betsy’s Swap Shop Yankee Swap, a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration replete with one-of-a-kind “gifts” for every participant. Betsy hosted some members who were new to the swap shop experience, providing extra entertainment for everyone. And as usual, she outdid herself with a table overflowing with homemade goodies.

Promise Tree News: As we start a new season, the Promise Tree is offering tea wallets and Wonder Wallets by LuAnn and homemade soups from Linda S. She makes hearty soups, stews and chilis and will offer them at $8 per 24 oz. container.
Linda has offered to bring one container of soup to the next meeting for those interested. Probably a ham, chorizo and white bean stew. Please order by contacting Linda, as she is limited to 3 for this month.
Do you have some Christmas gifts you would like to pass on? Our Sale table will continue into the New Year and we look forward to your unique offerings.

Vicki has recommended checking out Pollinator Pathways, an organization dedicated to establishing pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating insects and wildlife. They provide resources for learning more about planting pollinator-friendly gardens. Click on this link for information on programs and activities in the local area.

While we’re talking about pollinators, “My Garden of a Thousand Bees” is a PBS video recommended by Ann H. It’s “a story of surprise and revelation. A wildlife cameraman spends his time during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown filming the bees in his urban garden and discovers the many diverse species and personalities that exist in this insect family.” This is available on Amazon Prime for $5.99 or go to this link.

Our January 20th general meeting will be held in person at the Stratham Fire Station. The meeting will include a discussion of the video presentations on Microgreens that we were able to view on January 3rd and 12th. Be sure to check out the Promise Tree for new leaves while you’re there. Our Sales Table will also be set up.

Many of us fondly remember Terri Donsker, a club member for many years, who was also an extraordinary gardener, photographer, and nature lover. In fact, many of us treasure the plant cuttings (especially succulents!) and small Stewartia trees she generously shared. I just happened upon an article by Terri in “The Cook’s Cook”, a digital food magazine published by Denise Landis, another former club member and president. Terri’s article is titled “Suet, Seeds and Safety: Feeding Birds in Winter” and includes several of her recipes for homemade suet balls. Click on this link to see her recipes and some of her wonderful photography.

November Happenings

The holidays are approaching (very quickly, it seems) and the club calendar is filling up with special activities. Some email information has already gone out – decorating the Historical Society, Holiday Luncheon, and Design Workshop – and more plans are in the works.

But let’s backtrack for a moment. Last month’s speaker, Jeanne Davidson, may win a gold medal for most enthusiastic presentation and best props. She also provided us with loads of advice on how to protect our backs as we garden. Jeanne’s demonstrations were spot on (see photos) and she got members up off their seats to practice her techniques.

The meeting room at the Mogera Library was appropriately fall-like, thanks to the Hospitality Committee’s efforts. The creatively decorated centerpiece pumpkin, provided by Pat Navin, was auctioned off at meeting’s end.

A highlight of the meeting was the return of the Hort Table. Many members scoured their fall gardens for anything beautiful and/or interesting and the result was a surprisingly large, colorful, and varied assortment.

Our November meeting promises to be just as colorful, as we’ll be hearing Jillian Arquette-Gallagher speak on “The Importance of Local Flowers.” Jillian is owner of Fruition Flowers in Newmarket, NH. She has been drawn to flowers from a young age and creates memorable arrangements for a range of events. Her education in color and design lends a unique approach to floral arrangements. Like the bees, she gathers inspiration from the seasonal charm of New England. She uses as many foraged and locally cultivated materials as possible.

The meeting will be this Thursday, the 18th, at the Morgera Room at the Stratham Fire Department; doors open at 9, snacks at 9:30, meeting at 10. Don’t forget to bring your own beverage!

Promise Tree News: There will be a signup sheet at the Nov.18 meeting for a Cookie Swap which is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 4pm, at Susan C.’s home. The swap will be limited to 15 members. Participants are asked to bring 60 cookies and an extra container for their take-home cookies. All members of the Ways and Means committee will meet briefly after the Nov, meeting to finalize plans for the Cookie Swap.

Also, club members are asked to “make a promise”. We welcome new leaves on our Promise Tree with “gifts” of your choosing.

The Website Committee is planning an update of the site, with the hopes of making it more streamlined and user-friendly for members. One change you may have already noticed – the “Garden Talk” blog is now named “Happenings”. Everything else about the blog remains the same. In the future, some pages on the site may be eliminated, but advance notice will always be given.

We would love to have more input about how the website should look. If you have suggestions or would like to be involved in this re-vamp, contact LuAnn.

If you are planning to attend the Holiday Luncheon and have not signed up yet, please bring a check for $35 to the Nov. 18th meeting. Jill C. will be collecting them there.

A note from Abbie-Jane about the October meeting:

Enjoyed the program on Thursday. I’ve been practicing on my straight back gardening.
A big thank you to the member who brought in the pineapple vase. It graces my mantle.


Recent Happenings

Photo by daven Hsu on Unsplash

Despite our inability to meet in person, EAGC members have been connecting in many ways during the past few months. Our November general meeting via Zoom was well attended, especially for our first venture into remote meetings. Necessary business was conducted and members participated in a discussion of a video we were able to view ahead of time. Our Program chair, Vicki, managed to find an interesting replacement program for the meeting and then facilitate a successful meeting, along with help from Linda S. and Pat N.

The job of Programs has been challenging this season. The schedule of speakers Vicki had so carefully arranged has been tentatively cancelled and she is making plans on a month-by-month basis. Vicki’s been working extra hours to keep our meeting schedule on track and deserves a pat on the back (when we finally get close enough to do so!) Plans for the January 21 meeting are already finalized. You should have received an email with the details. Be sure to check with Vicki if you have any questions about using Zoom.

Not all our traditional activities have been put on hiatus. Jan C. and her Civic Beautification committee did a stellar job of decorating the Exeter Historical Society again this year. EAGC has been making the Historical Society building festive for years and also has provided hand-decorated wreaths for the door of Folsom Tavern.

Jan C.

Jan says “Thanks to all for their help to create a lovely Christmas display at the Historical society!”

The Promise Tree has been unseasonably leafy this fall. Lee sponsored a greens sale, sharing cuttings of greens from her enormous garden. Mary Jo offered some of her colorful holly to members for the holidays. And Johann and Edie, from the Promise Tree committee, arranged for a Cookie Swap that even included delivery. All these activities benefited the Promise Tree and everyone’s participation is very much appreciated.

Johann S.

This is a sampling of beautiful (and scrumptious, I’m certain) holiday cookies that were swapped on December 15.

Johann and Edie asked that these messages be sent to everyone who participated in the Cookie Swap:

Many thanks to all the bakers. What a wonderful assortment we got, and no duplicates. Enjoy the cookies and thank you for the success.” Edie

A big THANK YOU to the members who baked a great variety of holiday treats for the cookie swap. There were no duplicates! Most assortments were delivered today.
And aren’t we lucky to fit this in before the snow comes.
Enjoy those treats and Merry Christmas from the committee.” Johann

Vicki B has recommended the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts quarterly publication and their website as an interesting resource, especially their current winter edition. You can find it here: https://www.gcfm.org/mayflower

Just a reminder to members that the minutes of each general and board meeting are posted on the website. The board has had periodic virtual meetings since September. If you’d like to see the minutes, please click here.

Happy Holidays!

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.

September Happenings

The fall months here in New Hampshire bring us so much beauty — by way of both fall colors and perfect weather. They also bring us some creepy-crawly roommates. For more about these invaders, check out Linda V’s October Hort Tips.

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At our September General Meeting, Betsy, Linda V. and their Environment & Conservation committee gave a short presentation about the 2019 Beautification Mini-Grant award recipients. Seven grants, for a total of $1800, were awarded. The recipients were:

  • Portsmouth – Greengard Center for Autism, entrance planters
  • North Hampton – Rye Beach Little Boar’s Head Garden Club, North Hampton Beach parking lot restoration part 2
  • Exeter – Folsom Acres Condo Association, planting to screen compost area
  • Exeter – Yoga Life Institute, plant herbs and edibles
  • Exeter – Intersection of Drinkwater and Hampton Rd., add stone perimeter to garden begun last year
  • Exeter – Tenant’s Council of the Exeter Housing Authority, add a perennial cutting garden for residents
  • Isle of Shoals – Star Island Flagpole Garden Sustainability Project

Star Island Flagpole garden
Star Islamd
Star Island
EHA Tenant’s Cutting Garden

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Speaking of General Meetings, Susan has in introduced an interesting new project for our meetings:

What will we see at the October meeting?

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How does sipping wine & tasting cheese on a chilly fall evening in a lovely home, surrounded by happy friends, sound? If you’re curious, go the the Promise Tree Page to have your questions answered.

Lee C. has shared some shots of her late season gardens…

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And finally, mysterious aliens were spotted admiring our flower boxes at the Exeter Bandstand. Probably snipped some cuttings to take back home with them.

Intrepid photographer: Jill C