Members generally agreed that our March meeting was one of the more informative and helpful meetings we’ve had recently. The topic, presented by our Environment & Conservation committee, was “Water: Drought Tolerant Plants for a Drier Future – An Interactive Discussion” and focused specifically on native species. Each member of the committee addressed a different aspect of the topic, with Betsy and Linda V. summarizing and wrapping up the presentation.
Helpful lists were assembled of native plants, including their drought tolerance and attractiveness to pollinators. These lists can be found on the Speaker Notes page of our website, here. Members who had completed a list of the plants in their own gardens, were able to make note of how many of those plants were native. Pat N. impressed us with the highest percentage of natives, winning a prize of flower seeds (natives, of course.)
Two books highly recommended for info on native plants
At the meeting, Johann S. discussed our upcoming Plant, Bake and Yard Sale, scheduled for April 22 at the Stratham Municipal. Members are encouraged to start some plants now to bring to the sale. Details and information on volunteer sign-ups have been emailed to members.
Here are a few garden-related online and in-person activities to check out:
March 10–19: The Great Grow Along Online at greatgrowalong.com. A free, 10-day virtual festival connecting and inspiring gardeners worldwide with the influencers, taste-makers, and cutting-edge content of today’s gardening world.
March 21, 2023 Tuesday, from 9:45-11:15. The Rye Garden Club presents Margaret Witham with topic “How to Grow Garlic”. At the Rye Congregational Church.
The American Horticultural Society has an article in this month’s edition “Gardening for Native Bees”, that is available to the general public. Find it here.
And of course, our own general meeting on March 16 featuring Andi Ross with topic “Let’s Go Vertical”. This talk will give ideas for adding height to your gardens. Andi is a landscape designer and lecturer. 9:30-11:30 in the Morgera Room of the Stratham Fire Station.
Dianna T. was kind enough to share a photo of her Clivia in bloom this month. It’s no doubt a first cousin of many other club members’ clivias. This one is certainly a very healthy & happy speciman!
Wendy Snow Fogg, our speaker at the January meeting, enthusiastically presented “Herbs for a Healthy Immune System” to members and guests, gifting some in the audience with samples of her herbal tinctures. If you missed her talk, a video of it is available to club members on our website. It can be found on the Speaker Notes page.
The meeting also included an Environment & Conservation display on the importance of snow measurement as part of their year of exploring water. Promise Tree offerings and an inviting refreshment table, in shades of blue, were also available to meeting members.
Our February 16th general meeting will feature our own Environment & Conservation committee, who have put together an interactive presentation on water usage in our gardens: what we plant and how we can garden to conserve water as our summers continue to be drier.
Each member will be bringing for discussion a list of the plants in their gardens to help analyze water consumption. We’ll also be discussing the Pollinator Mini-Grants, applications for which are now available. This is in addition to our uncommonly delectable refreshment table, our Promise Tree, and other fun club activities.
The EAGC board meets almost every month during our garden club season. To learn what the board discusses and the decisions made, check out the Minuteson our website, under the Members Only page. They’re updated monthly.
Former EAGC member, Dorothy Cole, passed away this past October. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know her will appreciate the lovely tribute put together by the UNH Extension. You can read it here.
The Rye Driftwood Garden Club will be hosting Jamie Colon of Fuller Gardens in Rye on Tuesday, Feb. 21. He will be presenting “Dispelling Garden Myths.” For more info, checkhere.
With the holidays behind us, most of us are probably enjoying the quiet time of January – reading a book, browsing seed catalogs, or just appreciating homes newly cleared of holiday decorations. (Apologies to Anne C., who is in the midst of moving to a new home and would no doubt love to be quietly reading a book.) Before we dive into the new garden club year, let’s wrap up 2022 with photos of our final holiday celebrations.
An especially large group of members celebrated the season, and each other, at our annual Holiday Luncheon at the Wentworth by the Sea Country Club. A social hour kicked off the fun, followed by a delicious meal and our customary gift exchange. Thanks go to Nancy D. for organizing the event, assisted by her talented Hospitality committee.
Susan C. prepared a holiday feast for members on December 16 – a Promise Tree event that Susan has been hosting for several years. Anyone who is familiar with Susan’s cooking skills knows that attendees were treated to a bounty of delicious food. And her holiday decorations alone are well worth the visit.
The speaker for our next general meeting, Wendy Snow Fogg, is from Misty Meadows Herb Garden in Lee, NH. She will present “Herbs to Support A Healthy Immune System.” As she explains, “In this time of mutating viruses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and oh so much angst, our immune systems have taken a mighty wallop! But Mother Earth provides plants to help us regain our strength and, yes, even our confidence and hope.” We’ll be meeting as usual at 9:30 on Thursday, Jan. 19 in the Mogera Room of the Stratham Fire Department.
If you’d like to learn more about heirloom gardening, the Rye Driftwood Garden Club will be sponsoring John Fortis, Heirloom Gardener, who will be speaking about “Traditional Plants & Skills” on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the Rye Congregational Church. More info can be found at https://www.ryenhgardenclub.org/.
Gardening, or communing with nature in general, is certainly limited during these cold months. Watching our local birds compete for a turn at the birdfeeder is an entertaining diversion, for sure, but how about hand feeding-birds for a much more fulfilling adventure? Some of you may have cultivated such close relationships with your neighborhood birds that they’ll come to your hand for lunch, but most of us haven’t had that experience. It takes time, lots of patience, and an impressive tolerance for the cold to train birds to trust our good intentions, as we stand – stock still – in our freezing backyards hopefully offering a handful of birdseed.
Luckily, there’s another way. According to the Boston Globe, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, MA, is home to flocks of chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches tame enough to perch on any hand that offers a seed snack. The Innermost Trail, a short walk from the parking lot, is said to be the best place for successful hand-feeding. If you’re interested in experiencing some “hands-on” winter adventure, you can find more info about the sanctuary at https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/ipswich-river.
We’ve only reached the midpoint of December, but there are so many events and pictures to share that I’ve decided to do two December Happenings, lest readers become exhausted by the fun photos of all of the holiday festivities of the month. It turns out that, although we’re all exceptional gardeners, we also specialize in enjoying each other’s company.
EAGC kicked off the month by serving as Grand Marshal of the famed Exeter Holiday Parade, held on December 3. Although the day was rainy and gloomy, Mother Nature smiled on us and the rain stopped just as we lined up for the parade. We donned our Dollar Store finery and led off a long parade to a surprisingly large crowd of very merry parade viewers. It turns out that un-Christmas-like weather doesn’t deter holiday fans.
Betsy’s annual Holiday Swap Shop Party was memorable as always. In fact, attendees agreed that this year Betsy outdid herself with her finely curated selection of swap shop “gifts.” If this year’s party were to have had a theme, it may well have been toilet-related. (In fact, that seemed to be the theme of her 2021 party as well.) Enjoy the treasures:
In addition to supplying all these stunning gifts, Betsy also had a spectacular spread of goodies, including lots and lots of her meticulously decorated cookies. A fun morning for all who attended – much laughter and many calories!
There’s much more to come. Watch for December Happenings – Part Two, available in your inbox in early January.
Thank you to my inveterate photographers, Ann H. and Patti Smith!
There’s been a lot of crafty activity happening among EAGC members this past month. Preparations are well underway for our big debut at the Yuletide Fair being held on Saturday, November 19. Several workshops have been held and more are planned for members to create sales items for our table at the fair. In the process, we’ve had a fun time getting together for conversation, laughter, and maybe learning a new craft.
Work started early for Abbie-Jane and her crew as they worked on shell paintings last July:
Patti E. hosted a group of members who assembled cork ornaments on September 30th. Her team was very productive even though it proved difficult to find acorn caps large enough to fit the corks, after this dry season of small acorns.
On Oct. 10, members met at Pat N.’s home to assemble pinecone wreaths. Pat provided the group with a headstart, by finishing the base layer of pinecones for each wreath and providing approximately a half million assorted cones she had collected from her yard.
But wait! There’s more!
On November 7th, Betsy V. will be assembling bulbs in containers at her home at 10 a.m. She’s purchased paperwhite and amarylis bulbs and accumulated an assortment of containers to hold them. If you like to help with this project, contact Betsy.
And on the day before the fair, November 18th, Lee C. has arranged for a dried flower arrangement workshop at the Stratham Municipal Center from 1-4 p.m. Members will also be working with Dianna T. on her gourd arrangements at the same time.
If you’ve signed up for either of these workshops, you’ll be contacted with more details. And if you’d like to help with this fundraising effort, contact Johann S.
Our September general meeting, the traditional kick-off for our garden club year, was busy, fun, and informative, as well as being very well attended. New president, Pat N. welcomed everyone back from summer break, and committee chairs provided brief descriptions of their committee functions. This was followed by a break-down into smaller committee groups who discussed plans for the year. All of this was accompanied by a table of scrumptious refreshments, of course.
From the EAGC Horticulture Committee:
This summer’s Severe Drought wrecked havoc in my garden. I don’t know about surrounding communities, but the town of Exeter where I live enforced a NO WATERING ban. It was survive or die for my plants. What little water we used came from the dehumidifier, gray water, and water that ran cold before hot water reached the faucet each morning. We did have some plants that persevered in the heat and drought. I hope you have survivors, too.
At the October meeting, it would be interesting to know what did well in your gardens. Check your gardens for specimens that toughed it out this summer and bring in a specimen or two in a container. With droughts and warming climate becoming more commonplace, this will be a way for members to learn more about drought/heat tolerant plants. Look for blooms, berries, vegetables and/or greenery and take a cutting for a sharing display at the meeting. You can see below what a grand display we had at the October 2019 meeting.
If you can identify your plant on a slip of paper, that would be helpful. I will have pen and paper at the meeting. Ann H., Hort Chair
A Procedural Change: After discussion at the October Board meeting, it was decided that the Hospitality set-up group for general meetings doesn’t need to be at the library at 8:45, since social time doesn’t begin until 9:30. The club initially got into this early start routine in the old venue because it took FOREVER for the percolator to get the coffee ready to serve. Since the FD water is truly unpalatable – we got rid of the ancient coffee pot and to be more environmentally aware – we now bring our own beverages (hopefully in a reusable cup). There is no change from the yearbook schedule. The only change is when the doors are unlocked – set-up is still from 9 – 9:30.
The adjusted timeline is: 9:00 Doors are unlocked by President or her rep 9:00 – 9:30 Set-up 9:30 – 10:00 Social time 10:00 – Business Meeting followed by Program. (On occasion, due to speaker schedule – program may go first.)
A Yearbook Addition: Please add Jennifer Howard’s info to your Yearbooks. Jennifer Howard 50 Bunker Hill Rd. Stratham, NH 03885 603-380-4177 email@example.com
Lynda B. took a tour of Prescott Park and a cruise to Star Island last month. She’s shared her wonderful photography with us.
Last but not least, our Awards Committee will be presenting their awards for Outstanding Residential and Commercial Gardens at the next meeting, on October 20. Don’t miss it!