April Happenings


Fat, wet snowflakes are falling as I type this — not anyone’s idea of perfect April weather, I suspect. But we certainly need the moisture and my snow shovel is still at the ready in case it’s needed one more time. Snowflakes aside, spring fever has definitely infected our gardening community. Many of us have been outdoors digging in the dirt, checking for winter survivors, and planning for new plant additions to our gardens. The club has been busy too, mostly virtually. But in-person activities are in the planning stages. Here’s what’s happening…

Paula F. has put together an informative article about the Eastern Hemlock, as part of Environment and Conservation’s year of evergreen trees. You can find this by clicking here. And you’ll find comprehensive info on many other native NH trees on the website in the drop-down menu under “Garden Talk”.

Promise Tree chair, Johann S. has worked long and hard on our Savers FunDrive and has reported that over 1000 lbs. of goods were delivered to Savers on April 13, resulting in a $203.81 deposit to our treasury and lots of happy members who were able to clear out their closets and basements. Our donations were delivered by Rose G., Lee & Doug C., and Johann and LuAnn F.

Our Three Sisters Seed Library is rapidly growing in popularity and seeds. Patti E. just shared this message with the club.

The Exeter Area Garden Club is so excited to share that we have received a wonderful donation of seeds to the Seed Library from Stout Oak Farm in Brentwood. Some of the new seed varieties include snap and snow peas, pickling cucumbers, Vates kale, Who Gets Kissed sweet corn, Yukina Savoy (mild mustard greens), orange chard, Lolla Rossa lettuce, High Mowing Blend Mesclun, giant Italian parsley, Gemstone Greens parsley, Fordhook Giant chard, and more!
In addition to these, Rolling Green Nursery has also donated additional seeds including marigolds, gaillardia, cockscomb, purple basil, lovage, fennel, tomatoes, lettuces, microgreens and more!
The Exeter Area Garden Club cannot thank these businesses enough for helping the Three Sisters Seed Library continue to provide seeds to anyone wanting them. These donations allow the Seed Library to offer free seeds to you until you can grow some of these great varieties and return your own saved seeds back to the library at the end of the growing season.
All area residents are invited to stop by to visit and join the Seed Library at the Exeter Public Library!

Photo: Patti E.

After you’ve picked up your seeds at the Seed Library, you may need some expert advice about warm weather seed starting. Patti has comprehensive instructions on how to take those seeds from seed-hood to full-fledged plants, ready for moving to your garden bed. You can download her seed starting instructions here.

Exciting News — Our May general meeting will NOT be held via Zoom! Plans are in the works for a hands-on design workshop, to be held on May 20 at the Stratham Hill Park Pavilion. Programs and Horticulture committees are working jointly to organize this meeting. Plan to bring your own container and some pre-soaked oasis. Flowers will be provided. Watch your email or check the website calendar for updates. Masks will be required due to the nature of the program.


The Hospitality committee is currently collecting checks for our June Luncheon and Plant Auction. Don’t forget to send yours in to reserve your place at the luncheon. Checks for $30 made out to Exeter Area Garden Club, should be sent to Jill C. to arrive by April 23rd. Be sure to indicate your meal choice on your check. Questions? Contact Jill.

Shovel Your Garden Safely: 8 Tips. Gardening can be hard work. Here’s a short video that will provide you with tips you can use when working around the garden. Margaret Martin, from Melio Guide says, “Each spring there is a plant to move or one to add. Be sure you keep yourself safe. Gardening should bring you joy and not pain or grief.” Click here: Safe Shoveling

Yearning for some summer garden visits? Here are a few in Massachussetts:


Early Spring Happenings

I am qualifying “Spring Happenings” with the adjective “Early” — lest I call up some bad Karma that brings us a foot of snow! That being said, a crocus was spotted in full bloom this week and my hyacinths are bravely poking up from the mulch to enjoy the sun.

Now it’s our turn to anticipate spring and gardening and, eventually, meeting in person again! Members who watched Kerry Ann Mendez’ video for the March General meeting were definitely in a gardening mood. Viewing and learning about all her gorgeous perennials in bloom was tantalizing enough to cause some serious plant envy and list-making. We had a spirited discussion about the video and perennials in general during our Zoom meeting and everyone in attendance got some new plant and design ideas for their gardens.

If you’d still like to see Kerry Ann’s video, it’s available to club members indefinitely. You’ll need a link and a password to access it, so contact Vicki or LuAnn for that info.

If you missed Wendy Fogg’s February presentation, “Armchair Plant Walk”, here’s your chance to see her great photos from the talk. Wendy is is the founder and Senior Herbalist at Misty Meadows in Lee. Her presentation can be viewed by clicking below:

Plans for our April General meeting, on April 15, are still in the works but info will be posted on our home page as soon as things are finalized. Also in the planning stage for one of our future meetings is a presentation by the Horticulture Committee.

On Wednesday, June 16, we hope to be meeting in person on the patio of the Portsmouth Country Club for our annual June Plant Auction and Luncheon. Since it’s been two long years since our last luncheon, here are some photos to remind us of how much fun these events are.

As you know, our club is in the midst of a FunDrive, organized by Promise Tree chairs Johann and Edie. Since bake sales and yard sales are out of the question right now, we’re collecting unwanted items from our households which will be given to Savers, which will in turn make a contribution to our club. The response has been good, according to Johann, with a lot of members happy to unburden themselves to benefit the club. Our collection will be delivered to Savers on April 13. Details about the FunDrive can be found here.

Environment & Conservation is once again offering Beautification Mini-Grants to local individuals and businesses interested in beautifying a public space. They are available in the amounts of $100 to $400. Applications will be accepted between March 1 and May 1 and funds will be forwarded to recipients by May 15. If you know of anyone who would be interested in one of these grants, please pass on the word. The application can be found here.

Our Seed Library, started by Patti E. in cooperation with the Exeter Library and Rolling Green Nursery, has been enormously popular! The Seed Library, which is housed at the Exeter Library, has been well used, according to coordinator Dianne A., with people taking seeds and contributing their own to the collection. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to stop at the library to look it over. The library is open to visitors – with masks and socially distanced.

Photo by Dianne A.

Just a reminder that the minutes of each board and general meeting are published on our website each month, under “Members Only”. Our recording secretary, Lee C, does an excellent job of keeping track of our club business, keeping all members well informed at a time when we’re unable to attend meetings in person,

I am closing out this Happenings with a photo from Patti E.’s Facebook page, a stunning Ruby Star amaryllis. Add this beauty to the impressive amaryllis photos Ann H has been sharing in her EAGC Club Connections — blooms we definitely need in unpredictable March!

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!

October Happenings

The club has held two well-attended meetings this fall in the Stratham Hill Park Pavilion, the last being this past Thursday. Members who were able to attend were excited to connect with each other, even though our big smiles were obscured by masks. Much business was attended to and several committees had presentations to share.

The most discussed item on the agenda was how or whether to proceed with the November joint meeting with the Hampton Garden Club. A final decision was not made as there are so many ever-changing variables involved due to pandemic restrictions and everyone’s comfort level for attending an indoor meeting. Most members expressed a desire to hold the meeting if there is a way to do so safely. Updates will be posted on this website and emailed to members.

Photo by Ann H.

Pat N. made this beautiful fall centerpiece for the October meeting. It was won by a lucky member in a drawing.

At the September meeting, our new officers were sworn in by Anne Campbell. L to R are Susan C., Treasurer, Pat N., Vice President, Linda S., President, and Lee C., Recording Secretary. Absent was Florence W., Corresponding Secretary. The club is lucky to have such competent leadership for what will be a difficult year.

The Promise Tree sprouted some new leaves at the October meeting. Among the new offerings were homemade soup, miniature paintings by Lynda, and potted plants. Members happily shopped the tree and many participated in a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Promise Tree. Jean H. was the pleased member who took home the cash prize. Contact Edie W. or Johann S. to add your own leaf!

Environment and Conservation is planning to present info each month on native evergreen trees, following up last year’s displays on native deciduous trees. To kick off the year of the evergreen, Jill put together a quiz (her specialty, as we all know.) For those who missed the meeting, here’s the quiz. Test yourself! (Answers are at the end of this post.)

True or False:

1, Evergreens can be found on every continent.

2. Evergreens keep their leaves year round.

3. Palm trees are evergreens.

4. Most tropical rainforest trees are evergreens.

5. All evergreens are green.

6. All evergreens have pine needles.

7. There are thousands of species of evergreens.

8. In general, evergreens do not thrive in full sun.

How do you get down from an evergreen?

What tree is the tallest evergreen tree in the world?

Name 5 types of evergreen trees native to New Hampshire. (Count 1 point per correct tree.)

How do evergreen trees access the internet?

Ann H., our Horticulture Chair, has come up with a great remote way for us to enjoy a fall Design Workshop. Her virtual workshop will have us all raiding our garden beds for fall blooms and interesting summer remainders to create a fall arrangement. Ann will assemble an online album of the photos we send her, and we can all enjoy each others’ creativity. Leave it to Ann to turn this workshop cancellation lemon into lemonade!

This is Ann’s gorgeous example.

Answers to the Evergreen Quiz:

1.-F (none in Antarctica) 2.-T 3.-T 4.-F 5.-T 6.-F 7.-F 8.-T 9.-F

You don’t get down from an evergreen; you get it from a goose. (Groans were audible.)

The tallest evergreen in the world is the Redwood.

Types of NH evergreens: fir, spruce, pine, hemlock, larch, arborvitae, juniper, cedar.

How do evergreens access the internet? They log in!

(Even more groans.)

How did you do? The winning score at the meeting was 15 out of 17.

Memories of Halloween Past…

September Happenings

It’s been several months since I’ve sent out a Happenings update. Other than cancellations and postponements, there hasn’t been much “happening” to report. Thanks to Ann H. and her EAGC Connections, however, we’ve been able to stay in touch virtually and enjoy the beauty of each other’s gardens. What an inspiration Ann’s emails have been! The photos are proof positive of what a superlative group of gardeners we are!

Interspersed throughout this Happenings you’ll find club photos from Septembers past. Test your memory. Do you remember these people and events?

Although it was technically an August Happening, the Promise Tree Garden Party & Social offered a great photo op for this month’s update. Lee had a perfect day for hosting members and did an outstanding job of potting up plants and marking her beds for plant digging. It wasn’t all work though – members had a long-awaited chance to chat and catch up, socially distanced in Lee’s welcoming gardens. Thanks to Johann and Edie for arranging this fun kick-off to our Promise Tree year. And thanks, especially, to Lee for her hospitality and preparation.

And speaking of the Promise Tree — please consider what you can offer to the Tree this fall. Unfortunately, fundraisers our club had planned for last fall and the upcoming year are impossible to implement right now. So our Promise Tree has become more important than ever for financial reasons. But more importantly, we’ve been isolated from each other for months and small Promise Tree events and offerings will help bring us back together. If you’re looking for ideas for your own leaf on the Tree, check the Promise Tree page of the website here for suggestions.

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Our first General Meeting of the 2020-2021 year will be held as originally planned on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9:30. But the venue has changed – we’ll be meeting at the Stratham Hill Park Pavillion. As always, members are welcome at 9 a.m. and refreshments will be served. Please bring your own hot beverage. At this meeting we’ll be installing our officers for the year, since we were unable to do that at the June Luncheon. We’ll also be breaking into committees to discuss our plans for the coming year. Don’t miss it!

Seed Exchange – 2014

Last May, EAGC awarded its $1000 Scholarship to Nicole Berry of Newmarket. She graduated from the Seacoast School of Technology Animal and Plant Science Program in May. In addition to being involved in many school and community activities, including being on the leadership team for the National Future Farmers of America (FFA), Nicole also worked part time.

She considers herself a lifelong learner who always strives to do her best. According to her scholarship application letter, she states, “her career goal is to achieve a job as an entry level environmental scientist, in the field that deals with sustainable agriculture. I want to make the world a more productive place for nature, the current population and future generations”. This fall, Nicole is attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she will study environmental science.

Inspecting a mini-grant recipient – Seacoast Family Promise – in 2017.

Our Awards Committee has decided to postpone the process of choosing and awarding the Outstanding Garden Awards until a later time. The presentation of these awards at our October meeting is always highly anticipated, but committee members realized during the summer that coronavirus restrictions made viewing of gardens and the presentation ceremony impossible. This gives members more time to be on the lookout for especially beautiful gardens – and to pass the addresses on to Awards Committee members for the next awards.

EAGC helped Stratham celebrate its Anniversary – 2016

Our new vice president, Pat. N is taking inventory of all things EAGC. If you have any club supplies, notecards, equipment, etc. would you please let Pat know so she can finalize her list?

Cleanup crew at the Bandstand – 2016.

Some members may not be aware that EAGC has an excellent Facebook page, maintained by the very knowledgeble Patti E. In addition to making EAGC’s presence known to the Facebook world, Patti posts links to some fascinating gardening articles and adds interesting garden tidbits. If you’re not a Facebook user, click here for an example of what you can find on EAGC’s Facebook page. Then click “Like” and follow the page on a regular basis. If anyone would like a little help navigating Facebook, contact Patti. She’ll gladly give some guidance.