June Happenings

Before we get to the news of the month — please make sure you’ve renewed your membership for 2024-2025! The deadline for inclusion in the Yearbook is June 30. Please send your Registration Form with your dues to Niccky J. If you need your photo taken or would like a new photo for the yearbook, a photographer will be available at the June 19 Luncheon.

At May’s meeting, members stepped into the world of floral artistry with 6 club members presenting an Art in Bloom exhibit, where each display was inspired by beloved films. In a nod to the elegance of “Pride and Prejudice,” Lynda’s delicate roses intertwine with greenery, evoking the romance of Austen’s classic tale. What better movie for a Brit to choose! “Julie and Julia,” by Carol C., inspired a culinary delight, with vibrant herbs and edible flowers adorning a rustic kitchen garden tableau. Lee had us follow the yellow brick road to “The Wizard of Oz,” where we were transported to the land of Oz complete with a tornado.

For fans of modern romance, “You’ve Got Mail” displayed a New York City scene, as vibrant sunflowers spill over a mailbox, capturing the essence of love letters and city streets. With the movie, “Tulip Fever”, Lynne ignited the senses with a riot of tulips in rich hues, evoking the passion and intrigue of the Dutch Golden Age. And some of her props were beloved items passed down from her great-grandmother who hailed from Holland. Finally, with “Little Shop of Horrors” Nickky and Jan took a whimsically macabre turn with carnivorous plants, a playful homage to the cult classic’s dark humor. Each display was a testament to the artistry and imagination of our 6 members and we delighted in seeing favorite movies brought to life through flowers. Following the meeting, displays were transported to Wiggins Memorial Library to be on display for the enjoyment of library patrons. Bravo to all participants!
– Ann H.

These arrangements had to be seen in person to appreciate the detail and thought that went into them. Some included very personal items, such as the little soldier made for Lynda B. by her mother many years ago, and the Dutch family memorabilia from Lynne B., including the tiny wooden shoes worn by her grandmother. No wonder this is one of the most anticipated meetings of the year!

Stratham Library Display
And let’s not forget the month’s Hospitality crew — yum!
Iain Nicol with Pat N., President

EAGC was very pleased to award our annual $1000 scholarship to Iain Nicol, a 2024 graduate of Winnicunnet High School in Hampton. Iain will be moving on to UNH to pursue chemical engineering with a focus on environmental conservation. To read more about his goals, go to our Scholarship page on the website.

Our yearly wrap-up Spring Luncheon and Plant Auction is only days away. This year brings something new & different – we will be meeting at the Abenaqui Country Club in Rye. The luncheon/auction is always a celebratory event and a fun and affordable way to take home new plants for the garden or patio. We will also be swearing in a new board officer (welcome Carmen G.!) and saying goodbye to Pat N., who has earned a well-deserved retirement (although she will still be busy, preparing next year’s yearbook.)

Last month we reported that our annual Indoor Yard & Bake Sale was a success, raising more than $1000 for our coffers. Our members donated plants, baked goods, and miscellaneous items in addition to the table rental we collected from outside vendors. Thank you to the Ways & Means committee, headed by Johann S. for making it happen.

More recently, EAGC was represented at the Exeter YMCA’s Healthy Kids’ Day. We were asked to (wo)man a table to help educate participating kids about gardening and hopefully encourage them to undertake some gardening of their own. Ann H. had this report:

Pat N., Jill C., and Ann H. represented the EAGC at the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day by presenting a sensory exploration of aromatic herbs. Smiles of accomplishment filled the air as children used their senses to guess each herb. The reward? A coveted Welch’s fruit snack and a colorful sticker for those who correctly identified at least one herb, adding a flavorful twist to the day’s activities.

Also available were tiny herb and tomato seedlings, cat grass seed kits for cat owners, and an opportunity to learn a little more about insects using posters from the Environment and Conservation Committee’s theme this year. Termites and stink bugs seemed to draw the most attention.

(Posters were designed by Jill C. Photos from Ann H.)

These are the worker bee who cleaned up the beds for spring at the American Independence Museum in Exeter. EAGC will again be maintaining the foundation beds for the museum, one of our community projects. If you’d like to be a part of this good-looking crew, contact Linda S.

Board News

  • Please review your calendars for which month you would like to be on the refreshment committee during our next year.  A sign up form will be at the June 19th luncheon.  We will assure that there is a lead and 5 volunteers for each month.  If you will be a lead for a month, you can send that info to Vicki B. and she will put you on the form before the luncheon.  If you must have a specific month, send that to Vicki to fill in on the form.  Thanks.
  • The Membership committee is requesting that all members check their profiles on the website to make sure all your info is up to date, including your committee choices. You can find your profile by clicking on “Howdy, your name” on the top right of the website home page.
  • There is an Inventory List on the website, under Members Only, that lists all club items and which member is holding it at this time. Please check that list to make sure that you have any items assigned to you. If you have club items that aren’t on the list or see any other errors, contact Vicki B.

    Thank You!

If you haven’t been to Bedrock Gardens in Lee or haven’t been there recently, check out their website calendar. They have so many interesting activities planned for the summer. For the unitiated, “Bedrock Gardens is a public garden that integrates unusual botanical specimens and unique sculpture into an inspiring landscape journey. This 30-acre site has recently transitioned from a historic farm and private garden to a public oasis of horticulture, art, and inspiration.” Open Tuesday through Fri and the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month. 10 am to 4 pm. 19 High Road, Lee, NH 03861.

May Happenings

Douglas Cygan, Invasive Species Coordinator at the State of NH Dept. of Agriculture, shared his conprehensive knowledge of NH Invasive Species with members at our April meeting. Doug is THE authority on this topic in New Hampshire and is obviously very passionate about his topic. Everyone who attended came away with a much greater understanding of the negative effects of invasives and how those are being addressed.

The Hospitality committee, coordinated by Jill C., did its usual magic, providing a refreshment table that was both spring-like and mouthwatering.

Treasures Unveiled – A Promise Tree Event

Lee C., a passionate collector of Japanese art, welcomed club members to her Asian room to explore the history, the craftsmanship and sprit of her collections. Starting with the bright red wedding kimono she stands before, she shared the intricacies and history of many of her pieces from jewelry to hair ornaments, ceramics, furniture, cloth, carvings, and paintings. Favorite items were passed around to admire the details and artwork, such as the delicate netsukes, tiny carved masterpieces worn on obi sashes of kimonos.

Following her presentation, Lee gathered her guests around the table for a traditional Japanese lunch, explaining each delicious course as it was brought to the table. Everyone savored the flavors of every successive dish. It was a wonderful time of camaraderie, hospitality, and teaching in Lee’s comfortable home.

Board News

  • Our Indoor Yard Sale is tomorrow (Saturday, the 11th). Remember your Baked Goods and Yard Sale items – which should be brought to the Stratham Municipal Center between 2 and 5 Friday or by 8 on Saturday.
  • Returning and incoming officers and committee chairs are invited to the June transition meeting on Monday, June 17, at LuAnn F.’s home. Please reserve the date; more details to follow.
  • Time to renew your membership! Please download the Registration Form from the website (here) and bring it along with your check to the May 16 meeting.
  • If you haven’t signed up for our Spring Luncheon and Auction yet, contact Paige C. The deadline is May 25th!

Lee C., with the assistance of Ann H., is again representing our garden club with an arrangement at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art’s annual Art in Bloom event, Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23. Some of you will remember that on Lee’s first attempt at this event two years ago, she placed second! Lee has just chosen the artwork she will be interpreting and has shared a sneak preview.

‘Tis the season for Plant Sales! Patti E. has done some excellent research and compiled a list of local sales, which she posted on our Facebook page (find it here – visit and like it often!) Here’s a brief rundown of her efforts. She also offers precautionary advice regarding invasive jumping worms.
A gentle reminder to wash the roots of your plants before transplanting to prevent the spread of jumping worms and their eggs.

Other Local Events

  • The Portsmouth Garden Club Literature in Bloom is displaying floral arrangements at Portsmouth Public Library. This year they are featuring Children’s books. Display is free and open to the public beginning at 1:00pm on Wednesday, May 15 through Friday, May 17 at noon.
  • Online. Emily May, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society will present “In the Life of Nocturnal Pollinators” on May 23 from 1:00 – 2:00pm. Learn about the pollinators that come out to work as others turn in for the evening. Moths, flies, beetles, and other dusk and night-time pollinators play important roles in pollinating wild and managed plants. Free. Click here to register.
Wikimedia Commoms

This Month’s Big Question: Does leaving the dandelions in my lawn benefit pollinators?
I know of a certain husband (who will remain un-named) who strongly believes that dandelions serve no purpose other than to aggravate lawn lovers. Steph Sosinski, Home Horticulture Program Manager for UNH, has written an article that should help put that question to rest. Here’s her opinion.

Member Ginny T. was fortunate enough to be hiking in Leavenworth, WA when she came across some amazing flowers – Chocolate Lillies:

April Happenings

April is National Garden Month

Let’s jump into Spring with some gorgeous floral arrangements, courtesy of our very own designing members. At the March 28th Design Workshop and under the direction of chair, Ann H., members made Easter-themed arrangements, proving once again what a talented group of arrangers we are. Enjoy the results:

And here are some of the creators at work:

These arrangements were made using Sideau, a floral foam alternative crafted from Earthwool, a natural material derived from volcanic igneous rock and fortified with a binder free from plastics and formaldehyde.The floral bricks can be reused or composted, added to the garden soil or as a starter base for seeds. Using this eco-friendly solution to floral foam, we not only reduced waste but contributed to a healthier environment.

In other spring news, our March speaker was Jamie Colen, who has been Garden Director of the beautiful Fuller Gardens for over 20 years. He impressed attendees with his extensive knowledge of soil dynamics and his passionate belief in natural, versus synthetic, soil management.

Jamie Colen

Members brought Spring to the meeting by displaying their first garden blooms on the Hort Table. A surprising number of cheerful flowers made their appearance, including Iris, hellebores, Pieris japonica, pussy willow, Johnny jump ups, and snowdrops.

And of course, the Hospitality Committee, put on a seasonal show at the refreshment table:

The March meeting also featured an Environment & Conservation presentation on ground insects, those little critters who work busily and mostly out of sight on our soil and plant roots. In addition, Patti E. offered members seeds from the club’s Seed Library, which is open for business again at the Exeter Public Library.

Thanks to Ann H for all the wonderful photos!

A great many members participated in the club’s 2024 Member Survey, which was collected at the February meeting. Ginny T., our Treasurer, gave a brief overview of the results at the March meeting. Although opinions and suggestions varied widely, their were some common responses that will help guide the club in a direction that maintains the relevance and value to our members. More information about the survey will be forthcoming.

The Programs Committee hosted a very elegant “Mingle, Munch and Moot” luncheon on March 14 to explore new ideas for possible meeting programs. Ann S. hosted the group in her beautiful home, while Vicky B. and Mary Anne J. helped with prep and refreshments. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon getting to know each other better. And there was actually some serious discussuion about programs!

Several members of the Civic Beautification Committe put together a cheerful spring welcome for anyone visiting the Stratham Municipal Offices. Our club has adopted the somewhat barren entry as one of our beautification projects and our contributions have been greatly appreciated.

Wellington Gardens is open for the season. Their annual PERENNIAL SALE will be from Saturday, April 27 – Friday, May 3 or until sold out. Sale hours: 7 am – 6 pm. All 4-inch Perennials are $3 each.
Their ANNUALS SPECIAL is Saturday, May 4 – Sunday, May 12 or until sold out, from 7 am – 6 pm. Select Annuals 6-packs are $2.50 each. They’re at 89 Rowell Road East, Brentwood.

UNH Extension has published two articles of special interest to spring gardeners. “How to Utilize Raised Beds for Small Space Gardening” explains how raised beds can be be used to grow flowers, vegetables or even fruit. Find the article here.
And UNH Extension’s question of the week is “Which Spring Ephemerals Are Best for New Hampshire Gardens?” Ephemerals emerge early in the spring, flower and go dormant by summer, only to emerge again the following spring. This article describes those that flourish in NH. You can read about them here.

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginiana) image by Ivy Main, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Common

April 11, 12:00 – 1:00pmBuilding Resilient Landscapes” Online, Free
Presented by Dan Jaffe Wilder, Director of Applied Ecology, Norcross Wildlife Foundation
In this changing world, it behooves us to build resiliency into every landscape. The days of landscapes dedicated to beauty alone are passing. People are demanding ecologically sensitive landscapes; they want reduced lawn, reduced maintenance, and greater wildlife value. Register here.

April 16 Traffic Stopping Curb Appeal by Kerry Ann Mendez
Hosted by the Rye Driftwood Garden Club. for info.

April 17, 10:30 AM – 12. Flower Arranging presented by Jayne Densmore
Portsmouth Garden Club, held at the Urban Forestry Center, Elwyn Rd., Portsmouth. They ask that non member guests donate $5 to cover cost.

April 22, 2:00 – 3:30pmEdible Native Plants” Online, Free
Presented by Russ Cohen, Naturalist, edible native plant seed collector, propagator & planter
The fact that many of our native species are edible by people too provides an additional incentive for people to plant them in their yards that might otherwise be insufficiently induced to do so for the ecological rationale alone. Register here.

April 24, 7:00 – 8:00pmRethinking Gardening” Online, Free
Hosted by York Public Library. Presented by Wild Seed Project
Our garden plant choices can determine which species can seek refuge in our gardens, how much species diversity we see in residential areas and help minimize impacts of climate change such as flooding and drought. Register here.

May 8, 7:00 – 8:30pmGardening Among Hungry Mammals” Online, Free
Presented by Nancy Lawson, Author, The Humane Gardener
Discover how a combination of strategies—including mixtures of preferred and unpalatable species, strategic plantings along well-used pathways, and gentle exclusion techniques—can help you trade resistance for peaceful coexistence. Register here.

Lee C. is creating Gnomes again – this time a special Easter Gnome.

March Happenings

Brian McPherson inspired members to work toward “More Blossoms, Less Mowing” at our February general meeting. Using his own Exeter home gardens as examples, Brian provided lots of planting ideas to replace the typical manicured lawn, which provides so little benefit to our pollinators and our environment.

With his slide presentation, he also showed the results of his volunteer work reviving an Audubon Center rain garden and developing a pollinator meadow.

Meeting attendees also learned about predatory insects, thanks to the Environment & Conservation committee via posters, handouts, and a presentation of some surprising predator habits and preferences. Several sign-up sheets for upcoming social events were also made available.

Upcoming Club Events

The Programs committee has arranged a Mingle, Munch and Moot Promise Tree gathering on Thursday, March 14, from 2-5 PM at the home of Ann S. in Exeter. We’ll be meeting over savory snacks to discuss possible program options for future club meetings. There is still room for others to join the gathering. Contact Vicki B. if you’d like to sign up. The Promise Tree donation is $5.

Ann H. and her Horticulture Committee are planning a Spring Design Workshop for Thursday, March 28th from 2-4.

As always, participants will be creating a beautiful floral arrangement to brighten up their homes – this time for spring. If you’d like to be part of the creativity, contact Ann H.

Another club event in the planning stages is our annual Indoor Yard Sale fundraiser, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 8 AM to noon, at the Stratham Municipal Center. Members will be asked to bring plants, bargains and baked goods for sale at our club’s tables. Signup sheets for help with set-up on Friday and sales on Saturday will be available at the March meeting. Details will be emailed to members.

Other Upcoming Events

March 16 (9:30am to 5:30pm) and March 17 (9:30am to 4:30pm) Old House & Barn Expo – New Hampshire Preservation Alliance at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH. Featured speaker Henry Homeyer, The Gardening Guy’s lecture on Saturday at 3pm: Great Plants for Historic Properties: How to select and grow trees, shrubs and flowers that have stood the test of time. Go here for tickets.

March 19 Jane Raymond will speak on Successful Vegetable Gardening. Sponsored by the Rye Driftwood Garden Club. Contact here for info.

March 20, 11am – 12pm at the Urban Forestry Center, 147 Elwyn Rd, Portsmouth. Shaker Herbs and Gardening. Author Galen Beale will speak about growing herbs and explore the Shakers’ herb gardening heritage. Sponsored by the Portsmouth Garden Club. Guests are always welcome at PGC events. Arrive at 10:00am for light refreshments and social time, followed by a business meeting or arrive at 11:00am for our presentation. We ask nonmembers to donate $5 which is used to help defray speaker costs. Contact us at for more details.

April 10, 1-3 pm. “Spring is Sprung” by Bert Ford, one of New England’s leading floral design professionals. At the Fellowship Hall of First Parish Church in York, Maine. For info, go here.

Online Programs
March 28, 1-2 pm. In the Life of the Bumble Bee Queen (and the Cuckoo too!), with Rich Hatfield. ONLINE, hosted by Xerces Society. Take a deep dive into the reproductive females of bumble bees, including cuckoo bumble bees. Register here. Free
March 28, 7 pm. Spread, Impact, and Control of Jumping Worms, with Josef Görres. ONLINE, hosted by URI Cooperative Extension. An important presentation summarizing new research on jumping worm invasions in New England. The lecture will touch on identification, how they spread, their impact on plants and the environment, and new developments in how to control them. Register here. Free.

UNH Extension has put together an excellent article on preparing gardening tools for the upcoming season. Click here for advice on getting your pruners in shape for spring gardening.

Photo by Gary Barnes:

Happenings – Holiday Edition

We have so many photos to share of our many recent activities that a special Happenings edition became necessary. Let’s begin with a recent and festive event – our annual Holiday Luncheon, held at the warm & welcoming Wentworth Country Club. Our very talented photographer, Ann H., documented the special day…

A big Thank You to our Hospitality Chair, Nancy D. and her committee, for organizing this special celebration!

Doing EAGC’s part to decorate the towns of Exeter and Stratham for the holidays, our Civic Beautification committee worked on wreaths and pots for the Exeter Historical Society and a special arrangement for the Stratham Municipal Center entrance. Jan C. and her crew whipped up some beautiful decorations for the Historical Society and Linda S., Lee C. and Ellen J. (with the assistance of her daughter) created a very charming montage for the Municipal Center. Also in Stratham, Linda S.’s committee prepared the Veterans Garden for the winter.

There have been so many activities lately that it’s easy to forget about our very successful Yuletide Fair fundraiser in November. Thanks to the participation of many members, under the leadership of Johann S. and Lee C., EAGC sold lots of holiday-themed arrangements, wreaths, and decorations – pleasing fair attendees and providing funding for our programs going forward.

In November, our Membership committee tried something new – a New Member brunch. Chairs Nickky J. and Jane J. organized a lovely get-together for new garden club members at LuAnn F.’s home. Also invited were some “seasoned” members, in the hope of making our new members feel welcomed and to acquaint them with others in the club. Judging by the enthusiastic response, this was an inspirational idea that will be repeated in the future.

There’s one more holiday event that always results in some interesting (and sometimes questionable) photos. That, of course, is Betsy V.’s Swap Shop Party. I’m saving those for next month’s Happenings, just to let the anticipation build. Don’t miss it! In the meantime…