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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.

Happy Holidays Edition

A gift from your web manager to you — photos of the most festive, most joyous, and certainly most attractive, group of gardeners ever gathered to celebrate the holidays (and each other.) Thanks to Jill C. who took these great pictures.


Christmas Lights (5325813244).jpg

December Happenings

There have been so many club events this month — and members have definitely been taking advantage of the long-awaited opportunity to gather and enjoy each other’s company! Although holiday events are still ongoing, here’s a photo recap of some of the fun that’s already taken place.

The Civic Beautification Committee kicked off the season by meeting to decorate the Exeter Historical Society building. If you’ve ever helped with this project, you know how rewarding it is to work with such a talented and enjoyable group of women. The end result is always impressive (and greatly appreciated by the Historical Society.)

Our November general meeting was another success. Hospitality provided a tempting table of snacks, our Promise Tree was sprouting some interesting new leaves, and Ann H. of the Horticulture Committee, presented a fact-filled Hort Moment that educated us all about Joe Pye weed. All of this was followed by an enlightening talk by our speaker, Jillian Arquette-Gallagher who owns Fruition Flowers, where she grows flowers to supply local vendors. We all learned a lot about the environmental benefits of buying flowers grown locally.

The Design & Hort Committee hosted a pinecone wreath workshop this month – resulting in some wonderful wreaths, just in time for the holidays. Thanks to Ann H. for the photos.

Members were in a festive mood at the annual Holiday Luncheon at the beautifully decorated Wentworth Country Club. Delicious food, wonderful company, a holiday poem from the Hospitality Committee (apologies to Clement Moore), and a gift exchange made the event special.

On the calendar for January: more photos of Holiday fun and our January 20th UNH Extension Master Gardener presentation.

Notice: The club is in need of an official photographer – someone who plans to attend most, or many, club events and would be willing to document the activity with photos. Ann H. has been providing us with exceptional photos, but she already wears many hats for the club and should not have to feel responsible for photos. No great skill is required for this position – if you look at the three luncheon photos above, you can see that the need is dire and anything would be an improvement.

Wishing All Happy and Healthy Holidays!

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.


October Happenings

An exciting new project for the club

The board has approved a new venture for our club – restoring the garden beds of the American Independence Museum in Exeter. The museum’s director contacted our club for help with their garden beds after recent foundation work uprooted the plants that had been in place. After members met at the museum to assess the work needed, the board decided that designing new beds and advising on plant selections would be a good fit for our members’ expertise. In fact, new member Karen W. has already done a basic drawing, with ideas for the plantings.

It’s important to note that our work with the museum will not include installation or maintenance. Part of what made this project appealing to the board is that the museum works with a landscaping company, which will handle the heavy lifting. If you’re interested in more info or in joining the committee, contact Linda S.

 Here are a few photos of the project and the committee who met to assess it.

Ann H. Photos

This month’s General Meeting, on Thursday, October 21, will feature a speaker that any gardener who’s spent a day pulling weeds or moving plants will really appreciate. Jeanne Davidson, DPT, OCS, will present “Body Mechanics for Gardeners: Learn How to Keep Your Back Safe”. Come learn proper and safe ways to bend, lift, push, pull, and turn as you perform common garden tasks. This interactive presentation combines lecture and demonstration with audience participation using props and common garden tools. Handouts will be given for home reference.

Jeanne has practiced Physical Therapy for over forty years. She served on the Rehab staff at York Hospital for twenty-five years. She specialized in the treatment of patients with neck and low back disorders. She also taught continuing education courses to physical therapists across the country. She has presented Back Safety lectures to various organizations throughout the seacoast area. Visitors are welcome at our meetings, so spread the word to your gardening friends. Remember – our new meeting site is the Stratham Fire Department Mogera Room, 4 Winnicut Rd. Doors open at 9 a.m., 9:30 social time, 10 a.m. meeting.

Lee C. has an important question for members. She would like to know who brought the cantaloupe plant to the spring meeting at the Stratham pavilion.  She said the fruit was delicious and wants to buy more for next season. If it was your plant, please let Lee know! 

dried maple leaves
Greg Shield on Unsplash

Happy Fall!