Area gardens are flourishing these days – thanks to copious rain and plenty of heat and humidity. We gardeners may not be coping quite as well, due to that same rain, heat and humidity. Early morning gardening seems to be advisable on these 90 degree days, and dealing with this summer’s very happy weeds is a challenge. Nonetheless, our community projects look wonderful. Our volunteers have managed to keep up with the weeding and deadheading despite the heat, and here are the results.
We finished off our 2022-23 garden club year in festive fashion again this year, with our Plant Auction and June Luncheon. Paige Curtis and her committee arranged for a lovely meal and setting, while Johann and her crew put together another fun and profitable plant auction. We have pictures!
Congratulations to one of our gardeners extraordinaire, Patti E, who earned a Certified Pollinator Garden designation. She posted on her Facebook page that the application strictly looked at the number and variety of native pollinator plants in her yard, which has encourage her to add even more natives. She’s seen “an amazing increase in the number of pollinators and birds here compared to the barren landscape that was here just 3 years ago.”
Another of our very talented gardeners, Becky M., was recognized in June by the Stratham Selectboard. The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance has honored Becky, a longtime member of the Town’s Heritage Commission and a community leader in historic preservation efforts, with its 2023 Elizabeth Durfee Hengen Award. The award recognizes Becky’s extensive contributions to preservation planning, advocacy, and education here in Stratham over more than two decades. Congratulations, Becky!
Christmas in July? Plans are underway to begin preparing items for the November Yuletide Fair. Pat N. will be hosting amaryllis pot decorating workshops on July 24 and 26. Abbie-Jane A. is also planning another crafting workshop for this summer. Watch your email for more information on signing up. We want to complete as much of the preparation as possible before the busy holiday season begins.
The Piscataqua Garden Club will be hosting “The Business of Food Waste: Growing, Selling, Composting” on Thursday, July 20, at 10:30 AM at the York Harbor Reading Room on 491 York St., York Harbor, ME. Experts in sustainable food production, waste reduction/composting, and community food service will hold conversations on how to help reduce greenhouse gases through everyday actions. Open to the public. There is a non-member charge of $5.00 at the door.
Independence Day has gone by, but this arrangement by Lee C. deserves to be enjoyed after the fact.
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’re excited to report that Lee C,, with design assistance from Ann H., placed second at the Ogunquit Art Museum’s Art in Bloom event last weekend. This is even more of an accomplishment since it was Lee’s first time. Lee was happy to receive welcome comments from judges and exhibitors and said, “though it was sometimes a pain, I do appreciate having been given such an interesting and challenging opportunity.”
Photos of other entries, compliments of Ann H.:
Our June Plant Auction and Luncheon was well-attended and festive. Most wore hats to help celebrate the event and hats were the table centerpieces, decorated with live flowers by members of the Hospitality Committee. Max F. made sure the auction was fun and efficient and members enjoyed a tasty meal topped off by a strawberry dessert. We even managed to take care of business: the new Executive Board was sworn in. Many thanks to Jill C. and her Hospitality crew for another perfect Spring celebration. (Thanks to Patti Smith for the photos.)
Have a hankering to see some gardens? The Candia Garden Club invites you to their first Garden Tour on Saturday, July 16, 9 AM to 1 PM. Cost is $15. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Judy at Judyjs3@comcast.net.
Garden weeding is an ongoing task for all gardeners. How do you weed your garden and be kind to your bones, back and joints? How do you avoid a compression fracture? Here’s a video from Melioguide demonstrating how to safely weed your garden. How to Weed Your Garden
To close this Happenings in style, here are more photos of Exeter, perfectly captured by
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 thoseessays. 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).
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
Donna R. obviously has green thumbs. And she’s a talented photographer too!
Organic Beefsteaks — “We had a nice year of tomatoes. “
Garlic — “We planted in the fall and harvested them in July. Twenty five huge organic bulbs that made us very excited.”
“Our first attempt at onions brought us a small happy harvest.”
Organic Squash — “We thought we would attempt these this year. We have had quite a harvest.”
“When I came to the first meeting you had the speaker from Fuller Gardens. After his talk I decided to try and grow a rose bush. Here is one of the first 7 roses that it keeps producing. I’m very excited about being able to nurture this rose.”
“Some of the sunflowers growing in our gardens.”
“I enjoy putting together the window boxes.”
“The mom built a nest on the hose so we had to water from another source until the birds left the nest. We had two other nests in our shrubs and you couldn’t go near them or the mother would aim and dive for your head!!”
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And from Linda V, “My helianthus and Joe Pye weed are still going strong.”