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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.

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!

June – July Happenings

There are lots of pictures to share in this Happenings, which means we’ve been getting together again as a club. All the big smiles prove that we’re happy to be making up for lost time. Let’s start with the June Luncheon and Auction. The day was beautiful, the Portsmouth Country Club patio was a perfect venue, the auction was a success – a good time was had by all! Many thanks go to Jill C. and her efficient Hospitality committee.

After several rain cancellations, the Promise Tree Garden Tour finally took place on July 12th. Members endured heat, humidity, and the occasional raindrop to take in the beautiful gardens of Pat S., Pat N., and Linda S. Those small inconveniences were well worth it to enjoy and learn from these three very different but well thought-out gardens. Here are some of the floral highlights.

The American Gardener magazine is a wonderful resource for all kinds of gardening know-how. Here are a two articles that I thought were particularly interesting. “Why Wasps Deserve More Praise” discusses how these often hated insects offer many ecosystem and garden benefits. And while on the subject of insects, the article “Get to Know Your Insect Friends and Foes” offers some helpful identification information to help us sort the good guys from the bad when caring for our plants. Click on the underlined link to read the articles.

Pat N.’s 11-year-old grandson has a “play it forward” activity. He makes “Kindness Stars”, small paper Moravian stars with an attached saying. Over the past two years he has managed to make a few thousand and get them to all 50 states and many foreign countries. This boy has networked with family, friends, friends of friends, Scouts and classrooms of kids. Someone posted this on his Facebook page. Pat thought it might be worth passing along…

And finally, the Exeter Bandstand stands ready for Independence Day.

Photo by Ann H

December Happenings

What a busy Holiday month! We had so many opportunities to come together and celebrate, including a cookie exchange hosted by Lee, our Holiday Luncheon, arranged by Lynda and her Herb Committee, Betsy’s famous (or is it infamous?) Swap Shop Yankee Swap, and Susan’s festive and bounteous Holiday Brunch. We hope every member had the chance to participate in at least one of these fun activities.

Thanks to Ann H, we have lots of great photos from those December events — shown here to remind us of what fun we had (and, as always, what wonderful food we enjoyed!)

First, the Luncheon:

There was no lack of laughter or food at Betsy’s Yankee Swap. And Betsy showed her usual impeccable taste in gift selection:

So which of these lovely gifts remained unloved at the Swap’s end?

Amazing, but true. Dianna swapped it for something else.

Members actually did more than party in December. Early in the month, members of Civic Beautification, led by chair Donna W., gathered at the Exeter Historical Society to decorate the building for the holidays. Wreaths and topiaries were assembled, including a wreath for the front door of the Folsom Tavern.

Linda V. has put together an unusual and interesting Horticulture Tip for January. To be sure you don’t miss it, click here.

Backyard Birds” will be the topic of our speaker, Dr. Stephen Hale, at the January 16 general meeting. His presentation will feature common and likely resident and migrant visitors to any backyard in New England. This presentation offers ID tips on some challenging birds that live among us like … for example, Hairy vs. Downy Woodpecker and Purple vs. House Finch. Tips on feeding birds to attract the most diversity will also be provided.

Remember to bring a specimen (or more) from your winter garden for display at the general meeting. We’ve had intriguing and surprisingly beautiful fall & winter stems at the past few meetings — it will be interesting to see what January produces.

Lee has shared with us a photo of her self-pollinating winterberry. A perfectly bright and cheerful image of winter in New England.

And as a postscript, do you ever wonder who looks at this website and learns a little about our club? Maybe not — but as Web Manager, I do. This is what I learned about the past month:

  • 414 people clicked on our website. 21% were return visitors, 79% were new to the website.
  • 279 of them were from the U.S.
  • India, Canada, and the UK accounted for 17, 16, and 13 clicks, respectively.
  • Folks from countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Finland and Nigeria also accessed our website.
  • The most clicked on post on our website was The Language of Roses, from February, 2012.
  • The most clicked on page on our website was our Home Page.
  • The next most popular page was Horticulture Tips.

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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.