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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 https://www.ryenhgardenclub.org/.

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 https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/ipswich-river.

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December Happenings – Part One

We’ve only reached the midpoint of December, but there are so many events and pictures to share that I’ve decided to do two December Happenings, lest readers become exhausted by the fun photos of all of the holiday festivities of the month. It turns out that, although we’re all exceptional gardeners, we also specialize in enjoying each other’s company.

EAGC kicked off the month by serving as Grand Marshal of the famed Exeter Holiday Parade, held on December 3. Although the day was rainy and gloomy, Mother Nature smiled on us and the rain stopped just as we lined up for the parade. We donned our Dollar Store finery and led off a long parade to a surprisingly large crowd of very merry parade viewers. It turns out that un-Christmas-like weather doesn’t deter holiday fans.

Betsy’s annual Holiday Swap Shop Party was memorable as always. In fact, attendees agreed that this year Betsy outdid herself with her finely curated selection of swap shop “gifts.” If this year’s party were to have had a theme, it may well have been toilet-related. (In fact, that seemed to be the theme of her 2021 party as well.) Enjoy the treasures:

In addition to supplying all these stunning gifts, Betsy also had a spectacular spread of goodies, including lots and lots of her meticulously decorated cookies. A fun morning for all who attended – much laughter and many calories!

There’s much more to come. Watch for December Happenings – Part Two, available in your inbox in early January.

Thank you to my inveterate photographers, Ann H. and Patti Smith!

September Happenings

There’s been a lot of crafty activity happening among EAGC members this past month. Preparations are well underway for our big debut at the Yuletide Fair being held on Saturday, November 19. Several workshops have been held and more are planned for members to create sales items for our table at the fair. In the process, we’ve had a fun time getting together for conversation, laughter, and maybe learning a new craft.

Work started early for Abbie-Jane and her crew as they worked on shell paintings last July:

Patti E. hosted a group of members who assembled cork ornaments on September 30th. Her team was very productive even though it proved difficult to find acorn caps large enough to fit the corks, after this dry season of small acorns.

On Oct. 10, members met at Pat N.’s home to assemble pinecone wreaths. Pat provided the group with a headstart, by finishing the base layer of pinecones for each wreath and providing approximately a half million assorted cones she had collected from her yard.

But wait! There’s more!

On November 7th, Betsy V. will be assembling bulbs in containers at her home at 10 a.m. She’s purchased paperwhite and amarylis bulbs and accumulated an assortment of containers to hold them. If you like to help with this project, contact Betsy.

And on the day before the fair, November 18th, Lee C. has arranged for a dried flower arrangement workshop at the Stratham Municipal Center from 1-4 p.m. Members will also be working with Dianna T. on her gourd arrangements at the same time.

If you’ve signed up for either of these workshops, you’ll be contacted with more details. And if you’d like to help with this fundraising effort, contact Johann S.

Our September general meeting, the traditional kick-off for our garden club year, was busy, fun, and informative, as well as being very well attended. New president, Pat N. welcomed everyone back from summer break, and committee chairs provided brief descriptions of their committee functions. This was followed by a break-down into smaller committee groups who discussed plans for the year. All of this was accompanied by a table of scrumptious refreshments, of course.

From the EAGC Horticulture Committee:

This summer’s Severe Drought wrecked havoc in my garden. I don’t know about surrounding communities, but the town of Exeter where I live enforced a NO WATERING ban. It was survive or die for my plants. What little water we used came from the dehumidifier, gray water, and water that ran cold before hot water reached the faucet each morning. We did have some plants that persevered in the heat and drought. I hope you have survivors, too.

At the October meeting, it would be interesting to know what did well in your gardens. Check your gardens for specimens that toughed it out this summer and bring in a specimen or two in a container. With droughts and warming climate becoming more commonplace, this will be a way for members to learn more about drought/heat tolerant plants. Look for blooms, berries, vegetables and/or greenery and take a cutting for a sharing display at the meeting. You can see below what a grand display we had at the October 2019 meeting.

If you can identify your plant on a slip of paper, that would be helpful. I will have pen and paper at the meeting. 
Ann H., Hort Chair

A Procedural Change:
After discussion at the October Board meeting, it was decided that the Hospitality set-up group for general meetings doesn’t need to be at the library at 8:45, since social time doesn’t begin until 9:30. The club initially got into this early start routine in the old venue because it took FOREVER for the percolator to get the coffee ready to serve. Since the FD water is truly unpalatable – we got rid of the ancient coffee pot and to be more environmentally aware – we now bring our own beverages (hopefully in a reusable cup). There is no change from the yearbook schedule. The only change is when the doors are unlocked – set-up is still from 9 – 9:30.

The adjusted timeline is:
9:00 Doors are unlocked by President or her rep
9:00 – 9:30 Set-up
9:30 – 10:00 Social time
10:00 – Business Meeting followed by Program. (On occasion, due to speaker schedule – program may go first.)

A Yearbook Addition:
Please add Jennifer Howard’s info to your Yearbooks.
Jennifer Howard
50 Bunker Hill Rd.
Stratham, NH 03885
603-380-4177
cottageonbunkerhill@gmail.com

EAGC’s Fall Beautification of Stratham Town Offices

Lynda B. took a tour of Prescott Park and a cruise to Star Island last month. She’s shared her wonderful photography with us.

Last but not least, our Awards Committee will be presenting their awards for Outstanding Residential and Commercial Gardens at the next meeting, on October 20. Don’t miss it!

August Happenings

Photo: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Can we all agree that we’ve had enough of the heat and the drought? This has been a trying summer for gardeners and now that towns are limiting or banning outdoor gardening, it may be time to give up the ghost and start planning for next year’s garden. Fortunately, we’ve had some fun diversions to take our minds off all the brown and withered plants in our gardens.

Jill C. and Jan C. hosted a very fun “Mad Hatter Tea Party”, bringing members together to display some heat-induced silliness. The party featured costumes, finger sandwiches, tea and punch, pretty floral centerpieces, a quiz, and many laughs – all in the air-conditioned comfort of Jill’s home. (Thanks go to Jill’s husband, Bill, who labored in the heat to set up a croquet court, which went unused on that 90+ degree day.)

This week, Lee C. very generously shared her wonderful lake house in Wakefield, NH with garden club members. Lee, her husband Doug, and her son (and super-baker) Ben pulled out all the stops in providing us with a relaxing mini-vacation in a lovely wooded setting.

Later in the day, we were treated to a pontoon boat tour of Pine River Pond, with Captain Doug at the helm. One of the highlights of the cruise was the sighting of two eagles.

For those of you who’ve noticed our garden club’s absence at the Exeter Bandstand, you can now see our sign and our gardening efforts at the Exeter American Independence Museum. Members have been weeding and watering (until Exeter recently banned outdoor watering) and the beds look good. Next year, with some growth, they’ll be even better!

What happens when gardeners take a day off from gardening to gather for some relaxation? They talk about gardening, of course. At Lee’s lake house, a discussion about a particular weed came up – a weed none of us could positively name but were certainly familiar with.

Photo: Gateway Garlic Farm

Lee did some research for us and found some facts that should be useful to all of us. This familiar weed is Spotted Spurge. According to Gateway Garlic Farm, “spotted spurge is undesirable, tenacious and mildly poisonous. Its sap is a skin irritant and it’s been known to attract many garden insect pests. It produces a milky white sap that’s not only an irritant but is considered carcinogenic.

Often found growing in garden beds, lawns, and even sidewalk cracks, it’s extremely drought resistant and would make an awesome groundcover if it didn’t adversely affect nerby plants by causing them to grow diminished fruit. It is sometimes confused with purslane but can easily be distinguished by its milky white sap.” It’s also important to note that one spurge plant produces thousands of seeds, as evidenced by these photos taken by Patti E.

Hot and dry weather obviously haven’t affected Vicki B.’s gorgeous daylily bed. She started this bed three years ago this fall. “I started Daylily fascination at the 2004 July sale at Pinhill Farms Garden in Harvard MA.,” Vicki says. “Mr. Lefkovitz was a daylily hybridizer and his wife kept the logs, organized the summer sale, and coordinated the September digs.  From 2004-2007, I purchased 16 different plants, with 4 being created at Pinhill Farms.  I accumulated another 15 from various places.  I have some favorites that appear in several places for over 55 daylily plants at my home.  It is too many.  Fun story, my Hyperium was from a neighbor that got hers from the head gardener at the Emily Dickinson estate in Western MA.  My double orange Fulva (street daylily) is from my grandmother’s garden in the 1930’s and must be isolated from the hybrids.”  The colors are stunning:

This little white spider was photographed by Linda S. at the Independence Museum.

Thanks to our Happenings photographers, Ann H., Linda S., and Patti S.

Summer Happenings

Designing Women Place Second

We’re excited to report that Lee C,, with design assistance from Ann H., placed second at the Ogunquit Art Museum’s Art in Bloom event last weekend. This is even more of an accomplishment since it was Lee’s first time. Lee was happy to receive welcome comments from judges and exhibitors and said, “though it was sometimes a pain, I do appreciate having been given such an interesting and challenging opportunity.”

Photos of other entries, compliments of Ann H.:

Our June Plant Auction and Luncheon was well-attended and festive. Most wore hats to help celebrate the event and hats were the table centerpieces, decorated with live flowers by members of the Hospitality Committee. Max F. made sure the auction was fun and efficient and members enjoyed a tasty meal topped off by a strawberry dessert. We even managed to take care of business: the new Executive Board was sworn in. Many thanks to Jill C. and her Hospitality crew for another perfect Spring celebration. (Thanks to Patti Smith for the photos.)

Have a hankering to see some gardens? The Candia Garden Club invites you to their first Garden Tour on Saturday, July 16, 9 AM to 1 PM. Cost is $15. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Judy at Judyjs3@comcast.net.

Garden weeding is an ongoing task for all gardeners. How do you weed your garden and be kind to your bones, back and joints? How do you avoid a compression fracture? Here’s a video from Melioguide demonstrating how to safely weed your garden. How to Weed Your Garden

To close this Happenings in style, here are more photos of Exeter, perfectly captured by

Lynda B.