Archive by Author | LuAnn Faber

May Happenings

Johann at her table

EAGC’s big news is the success of our April 30 Yard Sale. Despite a short window for organization and advertising, Johann and her team of volunteers added $1082.91 to our treasury. That includes $210 for table rental, with the rest coming from the sale of our members’ famous baked goods and their donated garden items. Thanks to Johann and all our members who donated baked goods, sale items, and time!

Renovation of Exeter’s American Independence Museum gardens was begun on May 6. This is a new project for EAGC and an important improvement for the museum’s summer season. A small crew of our gardeners was joined by hard-working and strong volunteers from Liberty Mutual Insurance, and a lot was accomplished in four hours. Every plant was removed from the existing beds at the front of the museum, the soil was amended, new plants installed, and a layer of mulch spread. The change was impressive.

Our own member Karen W., a landscape architect, designed a plan and chose the plants, while Keith Whitehouse, owner of Yeti Landscaping, donated time, tools, and labor. Most of the shrubs are planted, with perennials to be added later. Be sure to stop by the museum to see the results of this transformation. It’s at 1 Govenor’s Lane in downtown Exeter.

Our April general meeting featured speaker Neil Sanders who bills himself as author and gardener, but should also add stand-up comedian to that resume. Attendees found themselves chuckling non-stop as he related his experiences as his wife’s designated hole-digger/gardening assistant. Neil also brought a supply of the mystery books he writes when not digging holes.

Our hospitality was table was tempting, as usual, and a number of interesting items were contributed to the sales table.

Our May general meeting, on May 19, will be a special one – we’ll be enjoying a presentation on “Spring Herbs” by members of our own Horticulture committee. It’s safe to say that the discussion will include some tastings, possibly even some recipes. We’ll also be voting on the budget for next year and on our slate of officers for 2022-23. They are: Pat N, President; Vicki B., Vice President; Lee C., Recording Secretary; Ginny T., Treasurer; and LuAnn, Communications Coordinator.

Two of our Designing Women, Ann H. and Lee C. are participating in the Art in Bloom program at the Ogunquit Museum, which will be held Friday June 24th through Sunday, June 26th. Ann and Lee are in the process of choosing an artwork at the museum which Lee will use as inspiration for an arrangement to be displayed with the art. The arrangement will be dedicated to the memory of Connie G. For more info about the program, go to Art in Bloom.

Members who are planning to attend the June 15 Spring Luncheon and Plant Auction have hopefully signed up by now. (If you haven’t, contact Jill C.) Each year we send out a link to Becky M.’s wonderful instructions for potting up the best-looking and healthiest plants for the auction. You can find them here. UNH Extension also has information on sharing plants, including info on Jumping Worms. Find the article here. Details about the luncheon and auction will be sent out soon.

Local Gardening Events

The Hampton Historical Society will present a talk about “New England’s Native Flowers and Trade – from the 1600’s – the Present” Wednesday, May 18 at 7 PM at the Tuck Museum in Hampton. Info here.

The Portsmouth Garden Club will present their annual Literature in Bloom program at NOON on May 18 at the Urban Forestry Center. Arrangements will then be on display at Portsmouth Public Library until May 20. Free and open to the public.

John Forti will speak on “The Heirloom Gardener – Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World” on Tuesday, May 24, at 6 PM at the Exeter Library.

The Great Island Garden Club is having their annual Plant Sale – rain or shine – on Saturday, May 21, 12 – 3 PM, at the New Castle Recreation Center, 301 Wentworth Rd., New Castle, NH 03854. In addition to plants, gently used garden tools will be included.

The Rye Beach-Little Boar’s Head Garden Club is hosting John Forti discussing Heirloom Gardens at their June meeting and would like to extend an invitation to any members of the Exeter Area Garden Club to attend. The meeting is June 14 at 1:30 pm at the North Hampton Public Library.


May trial

Tulips

Spring is here! It seems like we’ve been waiting for months. Blah blah ————————-

April Happenings

We’re still patiently waiting for warmer spring weather, but rumor has it that we will, indeed, experience sun and warmth sometime before the heat of summer kicks in. Fortunately our spring-blooming bulbs have ignored the chill and treated us to cheerful blooms to pull us out of post-winter doldrums. I don’t know about you, but they make me smile!

EAGC’s big news is our upcoming Indoor Yard Sale – on Saturday, April 30th. This will be our first opportunity in two years to raise funds for the club. We’ve missed out on the revenue from two yard sales and at least one election day bake sale. This is the revenue we’ve used in the past to fund our speakers, mini-grants and scholarships. Thanks to our Promise Tree and the Plant Auction, we’ve been able to sustain our club functions, but now it’s time to raise some money from non-members!

This is our third Yard Sale and it will be similar to the previous two – we’ll be renting tables to vendors and managing several tables of our own. The main difference this year is that our members won’t be donating household goods, as in the past. This year we’re asking for baked goods and garden-related items (including plants) from members.

Johann, our Ways & Means chair, has worked out all the details for the sale and members should have received an informational email. The sale will be advertised online and in the local papers. Now is the time to sign up for a time slot to help on the day of the sale, to think about what you’ll be baking, and to sort through your gardening stash for any unwanted items you can donate. Please contact Johann to sign up or if you have any questions.

March’s general meeting featured Brian Burris, who owns Two Bees Produce, where he grows fresh, local hydroponic greens. He provided an interesting overview of growing hydroponically, using 90% less water and no pesticides or GMO’s. As a bonus, Brian passed out free sample products to attendees.

Our April 21st speaker is humorist and mystery novelist Neal Sanders and his topic is “Gardening Will Kill You”. To assure us that he won’t be talking about man-eating plants swallowing hapless gardeners whole, he’s provided us with a little background about his topic:

Why should you never give a gardener a flower show ticket? Why is your perfect squirrel deterrent that animal’s dream-come-true amusement park ride? Why do rock walls keep growing long after they’re supposedly finished? These are the questions that keep Neal Sanders awake at night while downing Costco-size quantities of ibuprofen. As the spouse of an avid gardener with no ‘real’ responsibilities other than to dig holes and move rocks, Neal has lots of time to observe gardeners and their foibles.
Neal is the author of 13 mysteries, seven of which involve horticulture and several of those which use garden club settings. He writes the popular ‘The Principal Undergardener’ blog, which addresses gardening as a non-gardener who loves gardens. His talk is adapted from those essays. He and his wife, Betty, live in Medfield where, for the past three years, they have been creating a new garden from scratch.

Dates to Note:

The Portsmouth Garden Club has extended an invitation for our members to join them for a mini-conference on Star Island from Monday, Sept 12, through Wednesday, Sept. 14. The stay includes interesting activities, plus free time to enjoy the island. Also on the schedule – a Social Hour before dinner each night. All-inclusive rates range from $290 to $506. Registration is open now. For more info, click here.


A sure sign of spring: Wellington Gardens in Brentwood is holding their Spring Perennial Sale from Saturday, April 30 – May 5 (4″ perennials: $2.50) and their Annual 6-Pack Sale on Friday, May 6, until sold out (annual 6 Packs: $2.50).


Online registration is now open for all Garden Conservancy Open Days through May. Open Days are happening around the country on May 14 and 15. To check out the open gardens, go to https://www.gardenconservancy.org/events/all-events.


Speaker schedule of other local garden clubs:

April 19 – Julie Scaramella will speak about “Lavender – The History & Magic”. Rye Driftwood Garden Club, Rye Congregational Church, 580 Washington Road, Rye. 9:30-11:30 a.m. https://www.ryenhgardenclub.org/

April 20 – “Jaw Dropping, Traffic Stopping, Get Your Neighbors Talking Garden Containers” presented by Deborah Trickett, The Captured Garden. Portsmouth Garden Club, Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. https://www.portsmouthnhgardenclub.com/

May18 – Portsmouth Garden Club’s Literature In Bloom. Members discuss what inspired them to interpret a particular book cover they selected. Their Literature in Bloom arrangements will be on display at the Portsmouth Public Library for about two days following the meeting. Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. https://www.portsmouthnhgardenclub.com/

A Comment on Comments:
At the bottom of this post, you’ll see the phrase Leave a comment. When you click on that phrase, a box will appear under the words Leave a Reply. This is where you can tell us all your thoughts about the Happenings you’ve just read. How are your spring bulbs doing? What did you think about the March speaker? Are you interested in the Star Island trip? Curious minds want to know!
Make your Happenings editor a happy camper – leave a reply!
Thanks, LuAnn

March Happenings

It’s safe to say that spring is in the air. Even though that air might feel damp and cold today and snow clouds are hovering overhead, most of us are sensing a certain optimism that we’ll soon be poking around in our gardens again. All we have to do is look for the early bulbs popping out of the soil in our sunny beds for evidence.

James Brewer, our February speaker, showed us what can be achieved in our landscapes this summer – if we are amazingly talented or if we have him design our gardens. Attendees enjoyed slides of his spectacular landscape design work, along with his descriptions of the projects and of his transition from novice English gardener to established New England landscape designer.

In addition to an interesting selection of very healthy houseplants and tempting homemade snacks, Linda S. provided servings of Green Goddess soup for members. She has shared the recipe for this delicious (and very green) soup – it can be found in the Recipe Box on the website. (Thanks to Patti S. & Ann H. for the photos.)

As a followup to his appearance at our meeting, James Brewer sent us this note:
‘Dear ladies / members of the Stratham & Exeter Garden Club’.

I wanted to send you all a huge thank you for making Bill and I feel so welcome and staying awake while I talked to you all today.
Thank you for the opportunity to share a snippet of my story and discuss some of my gardens both large and small.
I wish you well for the coming season and hope you all enjoy your gardens, have good health and bountiful blooms in 2022…

Cheers,
James & Mr. Billster…

Club News:
Our Budget Committee met on March 3rd to draw up a budget for next year. The membership will be voting on the budget at the May meeting. In the meantime, there are a few vacancies on the board for committee chairs for next year. If you are interested in getting to know more members or becoming more involved, please contact Linda S. to discuss the positions that are available. Current and former board members will tell you that being on the board is the “funnest” part of being a garden club member. And if you’re interested in helping out on the Nominating Committee, there is still time to sign up, by contacting Linda S.

Our club is very excited to announce that, in conjunction with the Exeter Library, we’ll be hosting horticulturalist and garden historian John Forti, on May 24th at 6PM in the library’s Meeting Room. He will be giving a talk on heirloom gardening. John has directed gardens for Plimoth Plantation Museum, Strawberry Banke Museum, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and Bedrock Gardens. He also serves as a regional Slow Food Governor and biodiversity specialist for Slow Food USA. Here is a synopsis of his presentation:

The Heirloom Gardener – Traditional Plants and Skills is John Forti’s newest presentation.  It draws from his new book of traditional plants and skills for the modern world.  Richly illustrated with period images and contemporary woodcuts, his PowerPoint shares inspiration from our long history of heirloom preservation, garden craft and homestead lifeways.  Artisanal gardening lifestyles that are helping us to rebuild vibrant local agricultural economies and celebrate sustainable cottage industries that are contributing to our new, homegrown American arts & crafts movement and backyard environmentalism.  At a time when we could all use a little good news, we hope you will join us for a refreshing look at how you can make a difference and build habitat in your own backyard and community. 

He also has a book. These days, we all need some good news and a way to participate in meaningful change. The Heirloom Gardener-Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World is a book for gardeners who want to deepen their knowledge and improve life for families, pollinators and wildlife in their own backyards.  It’s a love poem to the earth; a map to the art of living intentionally and a guidepost for environmental gardeners and artisans.  It unearths old-ways, storied plants and artisanal life-skills; like seed-saving, herbalism, foraging, distillation, ethnobotany and organics which contribute to a new 21st century arts and crafts movement. With woodcuts from Caldecott Medal VT artist Mary Azarian, The Heirloom Garden offers a dose of wild hope for a weary nation. It is available through this link.

“A Garden for Pollinators & Wildlife: Natural Landscaping for a Better Yard” is a program being offered at the Brentwood Library on Tuesday, March 15 from 7 to 8 pm. The talk will be presented by Vicki J. Brown, NH Natural Resources Steward, Pollinator Pathways NH Organizing Founder and Speaking for Wildlife volunteer. She will provide insights on ways to attract butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife to your yard. You can sign up by clicking here.

Did you realize that saffron, that pricey and difficult-to-access spice is now being grown in New England? Here’s an interesting article, provided by Linda S., that explains the how and the where of local saffron: Why the Most Expensive Spice in the World Is Now Growing in Hundreds of Small American Farms.

February Happenings

Members who attended our January General Meeting learned all about herbs from Sarah Marcoux of the UNH Extension office, took advantage of our Sales Table, met a new member, and of course, enjoyed homemade refreshments compliments of our Hospitality Committee.

We also got a close-up look at Karen W.’s impressive landscaping plan for the American Independence Museum in Exeter. As many of you know, an EAGC committee is working with the museum to rejuvenate their landscaping, in particular the beds in front of the building. Our club, as well as the museum, are very fortunate to have Karen’s expertise as a landscape designer in creating a plan for beautiful, historical, and practical garden beds. Although some of our members may choose to volunteer some maintenance, the bulk of the bed installation will be handled by a landscaping company – good news for those of us who no longer relish doing the heavy lifting!

A portion of the site plan

Garden Design will be the topic at our February 17 general meeting. Our speaker, James Brewer, is a landscape designer who has been working within gardens since his boyhood years in England. He came from a sleepy village in Northamptonshire with natural stone thatch collages, an 18th century church ringing its lethargic bell and an abundance of wildlife within its rolling fields. Influenced by his surroundings James started his landscaping business in England in 1995 by lawn mowing and weeding, certainly humble beginnings.

A unique garden project in 2006 led to his enthusiastic personality and work catching the eye of the BBC and various publications in garden magazines.  In 2014, James moved to New Hampshire and embarked on a steep learning curve with our climate and vastly different plants.  In a short time, James has helped dozens of clients achieve new gardens and several ‘Signature’ projects throughout the state. 

These include a small Pocket / Courtyard Garden in Portsmouth; Downton Abbey / Baroque creation in Dover; and a ‘Testimony in Granite’ garden, which is a ‘Wolfe-henge’ style garden in the mountains of Wolfeboro overlooking Lake Wentworth.  Each of his designs are highly unique and combine aspects of classical English garden design while embracing the best plants and materials available to us in New Hampshire. We’re certain to see photos of some of James’ lovely gardens.

It’s that time of the club year when a Nominating Committee is formed to look for new officers and committee chairs. Although many will be returning to their positions, there will be some openings. Linda S. is asking members to contact her if they are interested in serving on the board and/or being on the Nominating Committee. On March 3rd, the Budget Committee will be meeting to prepare a budget for next year. If you chair a committee, please submit your budget request to Susan C. before then. And if you’d like to serve on the Budget Committee, contact Susan or Linda.

Although the Environment & Conservation Committee has put their traditional Mini-Grant program on hiatus for the year, they have been busy formulating a Pollinator Corridor grant plan in conjunction with the Exeter Library’s speaker program. The grants of $100 will be available to Exeter residents who will use the funds to plant pollinator-friendly seeds or plants in an effort to create a pollinator corridor in Exeter. More details about the grants will be available soon.

For those of us who are weary of the winter whiteness, here’s something colorful to feast our eyes on. The Amercan Horticultural Society has released its new plant recommendations for 2022. Even if we never plant one of these beauties, it’s uplifting just to look at the pictures. Click on this link and enjoy.

Photo by Skyler Ewing from Pexels