January Happenings

Beautiful garden blooms are hard to come by in New Hampshire in January. Lee has kindly sent us a picture to brighten our day – taken in her garden bed in Cayman. I’m not sure if we should feel cheered or just jealous…

Lee’s Hibiscus

January’s General Meeting featured Dr. Stephen Hale, who presented a lively discussion of Backyard Birds. The audience was able to identify most of his bird photos, but he may have stumped us on one or two.

Stephen Hale
Look Familiar?

The Environment and Conservation committee presented an extensive overview of native birch trees at the January meeting. We all learned something new about one of our favorite local trees. If you missed the meeting, or the display, you can see it all on the website, under “Garden Talk” or by clicking here.

Susan & Linda V. hosted a novel Promise Tree event — an afternoon with Britain’s leading garden writer and broadcaster, Monty Don (via Netflix). Our intrepid reporter on the scene, Ann H., filed this report:

Big Garden Dreams

What are gardeners to do on a dreary, cold January afternoon? Enjoy each other’s company and talk about gardening, of course. Club members were invited to meet up for a little camaraderie and refreshments and to watch a landscaping program at a time when our own gardens are in a deep winter sleep. How wonderful it was to be greeted by our host home with spring floral displays and a smorgasbord of food and drink…. including a spot of tea for the British program we were about to see.

Are you an amaryllis fan? How many bulbs will you have in bloom this winter? Becky has put together some very useful information about caring for amaryllis bulbs, including methods for saving them over for another year. Check out her Hort Tip here.

Next up for our February 20th general meeting:

A garden water features offer years of joy, relaxation and tranquility.  Come hear about the variety of possibilities and the build process available today.  Our speaker, Sean Radomski, is owner and designer for Aquatopia in Bow, NH.  He believes there is a water feature for every yard, every space and almost every budget.  From DIY to professionally installed, you will be pleasantly surprised at how possible it is to add a wonderful, relaxing aquatic oasis. Bring your own pictures of a space and let Sean show you what is possible!

We’re very pleased to announce that Jan C. and Paula F. are our new Civic Beautification chairs. They will be overseeing the maintenance of the Exeter Bandstand and the holiday decorations for the Historical Society. They’ll co-chair with Donna W., who will continue to manage the Stratham Veteran’s Garden.

The Rye Driftwood Garden Club will meet on Tuesday, Feb 18. They will discussing a creature we don’t usually associate with gardening – lobsters!  Cameron Bonsey, Director of Marketing at Coast of Maine, will present a program called “Why Your Plants Love Lobster: The Story of Calcium, Chitin and Nitrogen”.  He will discuss how one person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure as left-over lobster shells become organic fertilizer. Coffee & refreshments 9:30-10:00.    Suggested donation $5 non-members. Program starts at 10.

On Feb. 20 th at 7 pm Molly Janicki will be presenting “Pollinator Plants and Gardening Tips” at Rye Jr. High School, 501 Washington Rd., Rye. This presentation is sponsored by Pollinator Pathways New Hampshire.

Club Memories — Although our club no longer maintains scrapbooks of our activities, we still have lots of pictures of the highlights of our last 8 years. They’re all stored on our website. Here are a few photos of a very fun event. How many remember this day in June, 2012?

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.


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.

October Happenings

Before we plunge into the upcoming Holiday activities, let’s take a minute to review some October club happenings. Remember October? Warm sun, lingering blooms, shirt-sleeve weather, sunset at 6:30? Let’s take one last look:

Our October General Meeting was packed with so many special events and exhibits that we had no time for a formal speaker. First and foremost, our Awards Committee, led by Mary Jo, announced the very deserving recipients of this year’s Civic Beautification Awards. In a detailed and enthusiastic presentation, Mary Jo and Jann B described the winning gardens and introduced their dedicated gardeners to the audience. The Residential Award was presented to John and Doreen Andriola, 14 Breakfast Hill Rd., Greenland.

The Commercial Award was presented to Squamscott View Apartments, 277 Water Street, Exeter.  These people were recognized for their contribution: CJ Harding Smith, maintenance supervisor; Matt Berube, manager for the Town of Exeter Water and Sewer; Mary Dupre, former Apartments resident and founder of the flower gardens; Sally McRae, resident and current coordinator of the flower gardens; and Margaret Niland, resident and coordinator of the vegetable gardens.

Carol C. added an interesting and delicious aspect to the meeting with her in-depth presentation on sage. Not only did she provide us with valuable information, she also prepared delicious examples of how sage can be used in various types of food. Her Butternut Squash Soup with Sage was a big hit.

A new meeting feature, sponsored by the Horticulture Committee, is a Hort Specimen table. Many members chose blooms and other foliage from their October gardens, popped them in small containers, and displayed them for all to enjoy. I think we were all surprised at the color and interest that could be plucked from our fall gardens. This will be an ongoing effort, so be on the lookout for your contribution to the November meeting

The Environment & Conservation Committee had their usual detailed display table – this month dealing with the maple tree. Handouts, posters, leaf specimens, and more were available.

Dismantling the Exeter Bandstand flower boxes and cleaning up for the Fall are annual tasks handled ably by the Civic Beautification Committee. This year’s cleanup was organized by Donna W, who with her crew, whipped the bandstand into shape for the coming winter snow and slush. As usual, the committee did a wonderful job this spring and summer of beautifying the heart of downtown Exeter.

For the November 21st General Meeting we’ll be hosting the Hampton Garden Club. Our guest speakers, Jana Milbocker and Joan Butler, will be presenting “The Garden Tourist.” Vicki has provided us with some information about the speakers and their topic.

Do you enjoy touring beautiful gardens? Jana Milbocker and Joan Butler will take us to the best public gardens, nursery display gardens, and private gardens in the Northeast.  Learn about each garden’s highlights, ideal times to visit, and enjoy a visual tour of each amazing destination.  Jana’s book, “The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast,” will be for sale.

Jana Milbocker and Joan Butler are avid gardeners, plant collectors, garden designers and writers. They jointly lecture on a variety of gardening topics to garden clubs and community education classes. They have presented programs at the Boston Flower & Garden Show, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Blithewold and at the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts (GCFM).

Jana and Joan are past presidents of the Holliston Garden Club and are active in the GCFM and other horticultural societies. Currently, they both serve on the board of the Massachusetts Landscape Design Council.

Jana is a garden designer and owner of Enchanted Gardens, a landscape design and installation firm in Holliston. She is the author of The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast, published in 2018. She has authored gardening articles which have been published nationally and writes a website blog at enchantedgardensdesign.com.

Joan is a Horticulturist at Weston Nurseries and a Master Gardener. She is a former Chairman of the Massachusetts Landscape Design Council, is a member of Garden Consultants Council and is an accredited Flower Show Judge. Currently, Joan serves on the GCFM Board as Awards Chairman.

Thank you to Ann H and Donna R for the terrific photos found in this post.

September Happenings

The fall months here in New Hampshire bring us so much beauty — by way of both fall colors and perfect weather. They also bring us some creepy-crawly roommates. For more about these invaders, check out Linda V’s October Hort Tips.

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At our September General Meeting, Betsy, Linda V. and their Environment & Conservation committee gave a short presentation about the 2019 Beautification Mini-Grant award recipients. Seven grants, for a total of $1800, were awarded. The recipients were:

  • Portsmouth – Greengard Center for Autism, entrance planters
  • North Hampton – Rye Beach Little Boar’s Head Garden Club, North Hampton Beach parking lot restoration part 2
  • Exeter – Folsom Acres Condo Association, planting to screen compost area
  • Exeter – Yoga Life Institute, plant herbs and edibles
  • Exeter – Intersection of Drinkwater and Hampton Rd., add stone perimeter to garden begun last year
  • Exeter – Tenant’s Council of the Exeter Housing Authority, add a perennial cutting garden for residents
  • Isle of Shoals – Star Island Flagpole Garden Sustainability Project

Star Island Flagpole garden
Star Islamd
Star Island
EHA Tenant’s Cutting Garden

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Speaking of General Meetings, Susan has in introduced an interesting new project for our meetings:

What will we see at the October meeting?

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How does sipping wine & tasting cheese on a chilly fall evening in a lovely home, surrounded by happy friends, sound? If you’re curious, go the the Promise Tree Page to have your questions answered.

Lee C. has shared some shots of her late season gardens…

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And finally, mysterious aliens were spotted admiring our flower boxes at the Exeter Bandstand. Probably snipped some cuttings to take back home with them.

Intrepid photographer: Jill C