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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

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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Butterfly Kit Results

Abbie Jane had great success with her butterfly kits…

Linda V.’s butterfly is just about ready to join the world…

Pat N. photographed her butterfly’s progress…

Leaving its chrysalis

Here is a photo of Ann H.’s newly emerged butterfly:

April Happenings

After a couple of days of sunshine & warmer temperatures, blooms are popping up all over! It’s safe to say Spring is finally making its appearance. Cool weather notwithstanding, April was a big month for EAGC news.
We’ll start with an important announcement from Meredith, our Membership Chairperson.

May is Membership Month
All members must complete the Membership Registration form and pay $25 dues in order to be included in the EAGC Yearbook. You can download and print the form here or pick one up at the May general meeting. When filling out the form, please circle any new information.

Photos of new members will be taken at the May general meeting and the June Luncheon.
Do not delay sending in your registration! The deadline for inclusion in the Yearbook is June 1st. Call Meredith Stevens with questions. 603-580-5954.

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Betsy V. helped us start out the month in festive fashion with her much-anticipated April Fool’s Party and Gift Swap. As her regular Christmas Party participants know, the “gifts” that were swapped were all compliments of the Candia Swap Shop. Good food and lots of laughs ensued.


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Paula, Jan, and Carol C. hosted a lovely Mushroom Luncheon at Paula’s home in April. The lucky attendees were served gourmet-quality mushroom dishes, ranging from appetizers to desserts, in an elegant setting.

Ann H. offered her review: The luncheon was 1st class… we were handed a mimosa as soon as we stepped in the door, and on the table a mushroom extravaganza of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres greeted us. We laughed through a difficult but fun mushroom quiz with nice prizes for several winners. After being seated in the dining room, we were served lovely vinaigrette salads garnished with freshly sautéed mushrooms, followed by a mushroom quiche main course, and warm mushroom biscuits with mushroom butter… all delicious. Our deserts were colorfully decorated mushroom cookies and a mushroom decorated cake (without mushroom ingredients). Wine and champagne flowed throughout the day but I decided not to include those photos. (Our loss!)


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Our April General Meeting is a Members’ Meeting, when the talents of our member volunteers are displayed for all. This year, our presenters were Susan, Lee, Dianna, and Donna. They each demonstrated the creation of varying arrangements, while describing the process and offering many helpful tips. Here are the presenters and their beautiful results:


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Announcements

As a followup to last year’s Environment & Conservation theme about the importance of pollinators, Linda V. has suggested checking out the related activities offered by the New Hampshire Audubon society. You can view their schedule of events at http://www.nhaudubon.org/.

The Hampton Falls Library is hosting two programs of particular interest to gardeners. On May 16 at 6:30, Invasive Plants of NH will be presented by the NH conservation commission. On June 6 at 6:30, Stephen Hale, owner of Open World Explorers, discusses Backyard Birds. The Hampton Falls Library is at 7 Drinkwater Rd., in Hampton Falls.

The Rye Driftwood Garden Club is holding their 2019 Plant Sale on Friday May 17- 9 am-2 pm and Saturday, May 18 – 9 am – 12 pm. It will be held at 481 Central Road in Rye. For info, click here.

Our own Spring Luncheon & Plant Auction is just around the corner — Tuesday, June 18. If you haven’t already signed up and send your check for $25, please do so soon. Checks may be sent to Jill, who is our Hospitality Chairperson. Or sign up at the May general meeting next Thursday. Expect a special day — plant drop-off starts at 10:30, followed by the auction at 11. Our delicious luncheon will be served at about 12:30.

If you don’t have plants to dig up and contribute, consider bringing a patio planter, houseplant, or a garden-related item to be auctioned off. And remember, an auction purchase isn’t required to join in on the fun. Consider bringing a friend, too. They’ll enjoy a great meal and make some new friends.