December Happenings – Part Two

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.

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December Happenings – Part One

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!

November Happenings

November may not be the best month to be a turkey, but it turned out to be a very good month to be a member of EAGC. Our participation in the Yuletide Fair, on Nov. 19, was a great success, not only for our bank balance but also for the fun and companionship enjoyed by all the members who participated in workshops and the fair itself. With a profit of around $1,100, we’re in great shape to fund another year of mini-grants, scholarships and speakers. And as evidenced by these pictures, a good time was had by all!

The floral arrangement workshop on the 18th was very well attended – so many arrangers and so much enthusiasm!

Several pinecone wreath workshops resulted in lots of very professional looking wreaths and candle rings.

And at the Fair, we had so much to display – live & dry arrangements, wreaths, tree ornaments, bulbs potted up and ready to sprout – all artfully arranged and attracting lots of interest.

After Thanksgiving, Jan C. organized her Civic Beautification committee to decorate the Exeter Historical Society for the holidays, as well as make a wreath for the door of Exeter’s Folsom Tavern. This year, Jan decided to go all natural with greens, red twigs, winterberry, orange slices and cranberries. The results were a festive change of pace.

Amidst all the holiday fair preparations, was our November general meeting featuring Jana Milbocker, who presented an inspiring slide show on “Artist Gardens in New England.” Everyone attending was impressed with the number of spectacular gardens within a day’s drive of the Seacoast. Our sales table was very popular at the meeting, as were Promise Tree activity sign-ups. In addition, Environment & Conservation addressed the theme of water by asking us to consider what our personal water usage is in a day’s time. Where in our household do we use the most water? (Hint – it’s not the kitchen or the laundry.)

At our next general meeting, on January 19, 2023(!), Herbalist Wendy Snow Fogg will talk to us about “Herbs to Support a Healthy Immune System.”

In the meantime, I wish all my garden club friends a very happy holiday season!
LuAnn

October Happenings

As we busily gear up for our debut appearance at the Yuletide Fair on November 19, let’s take a look at what’s been going on for the past month. The Awards Committee, under Mary Jo C.’s expert leadership, provided an impressive program for the October general meeting. We were fortunate that a number of award recipients were present to accept their awards and discuss their gardens.

The award for Outstanding Civic Garden was presented to Eric Chinburg, President and CEO of Chinburg Properties, Chestnut Street Apartments in Exeter (Accepting the award on his behalf was Lexi Jackson, property manager of Chestnut St. Apts.) Also receiving the award were Barbara H. Beardsley, designer and lead gardener of the sustainable meadow at the Chestnut St. Apts. and Ann Smith, the assistant gardener. The Outstanding Residential Garden Award was presented jointly to Sherri and Kim Brown, 12 Brown Rd. in Hampton Falls.

Photos of the Brown’s lovely gardens:

The “Meadow of Hope” at the Chestnut St. Apartments:

The Hort Table at the October meeting held a surprisingly colorful selection of garden cuttings for this time of year. Committee chair, Ann H. would like to thank the members who shared horticulture from their gardens at the meeting. With variable weather becoming our new normal, it was good to see what fall plants were flourishing in spite of the dry conditions in our New Hampshire Seacoast.

Other highlights from the October meeting:

Our November General Meeting, on Nov. 17th, will feature speakers whose previous presentation was cancelled due to Covid precautions. Jana Milbocker & Joan Butler from Enchanted Gardens in Massachusetts will speak on “Artists’ Gardens in New England.” Some of our most beloved painters, sculptors and authors were inspired by the gardens they created. Visit the private havens of Edith Wharton, Julian Alden Weir, Childe Hassam, Daniel Chester French, Emily Dickinson, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Celia Thaxter and others. Learn about the gardens’ histories, design and horticultural highlights in this richly illustrated presentation.

Making for a busy week, our general meeting will be followed the very next day by our Yuletide Fair workshop, at the Stratham Municipal Center, from 1 to 5 PM. Expect amazing creativity to happen as we assemble floral arrangements for the fair. This will be a fun and productive event. If you haven’t signed up yet, check with Ann H. or Lee C. to get the details. And then bright and early the following day, Nov. 19, members will be transporting our creations to the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham for the fair, which starts at 9 AM. Volunteers have been recruited for our sales table, set-up, and clean-up. A large crowd typically shops at this fair, so we’re anticipating a successful (and probably exhausting) day.

September Happenings

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
cottageonbunkerhill@gmail.com

EAGC’s Fall Beautification of Stratham Town Offices

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!