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Windham Garden Club Allison Sjolund

By R. Rodgers

It all started with a tiny cactus and a girl who loves to shop!  Allison Sjolund has always loved and cared for indoor plants, beginning with cacti at a young age and continuing on from there.  Her home is filled with trees and plants all thriving in their surroundings and nestled in just the right places.  “I love to shop,” said Allison.  “We went to Lake Street Gardens for a couple of things and stumbled onto their outside plants!”  A perennial gardener was born!  “I have always been a house plant person until we moved here.  I was amazed at the variety of outside plants available!”

Allison and her husband John moved to a new development in Windham 7 years ago.  After their experience at Lake Street, all the contractor shrubs came out, and Allison designed her own landscape for their new home.  She joined the Windham Garden Club just before Covid hit and met a few members.  When she was able to return to the group, she was overwhelmed by the greeting she got, thinking that she would have been forgotten.  Robin Heider, long time member, welcomed her with a smile and a hardy hello.  She continues to attend meetings and helps out with the Plant Sale.  Allison also writes press releases for the Club and keeps the community informed of the Garden Club happenings. 

The Windham Garden Club offers a variety of education through monthly meetings with timely topics, member mentoring, and various “digs” that give members hands on learning.  Allison has been able to expand her perennial knowledge and her garden by joining this club.  “I love the plant sale for inexpensive plants.   It’s so fun and you learn stuff!” said Allison.

Allison leans towards trees and shrubs outside as she does inside.  One of her favorites is Rose Mallow Hibiscus, which comes up late.  It always worries her and everyone else!  Clematis is on her list of fav’s and so is Spiderwort.  A word to the wise had her corralling that super spreader in!  Touring the garden found many special treasures, – a sunken firepit surrounded with flowering shrubs, a built-in herb shelf right off the deck, and wide open space with soft color sculpting the lawn.  Truly a perennial landscape to behold. 

At the seven-year mark, some of her bushes are getting to the overgrown stage.  Ever the hands-on learner, Allison has hired an arborist to come teach her how to properly prune them.  Her “Magic Wand” wish would be for “Good Soil.”  Allison shared that her soil is a little rocky and sandy.  Every gardener has been there at some point, and she will overcome this problem along with the next. 

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2022 Plant Sale Raffle Winners

Thank you to everyone for supporting the Windham Garden Club by purchasing raffle tickets. Here are our winners!

A Touch of Garden Magic

Order 2177 Pauline R.

Grace and Elegance

Order 2093 Kristi D

A Very Berry Strawberry Planter

Order 2122 Mary M.

Herb Your Enthusiasm!

Order 2290 Janet S.

Beautiful Hanging Plant and Plant Stand

Order 2083 Betsy C.

Beautiful Herbalicious!

Order 2181 Maureen V.

Berry Delicious

Order 2241 Carolyn H

Home Sweet Home

Order 2105 Lisa S.

Brilliant Bartzella Itoh Peony Plant

Order 2011 Siri W

Hosta Amour

Order 2011 Siri W.

Cocktails in the Garden

Order 2145 Julia S.

Husker Red Cherry Tomato

Order 2095 Danielle A

Colorful Hanging Plant Basket

Order 2095 Danielle A

Pure of Heart

Order 2007 Deborah D

Garden Gazing Ball

Order 2288 Katherine Q

Sedum Turtle

Order 2242 Jerry J.

Gardeners Delight! Basket

Order 2017 patty m

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Cheryl Cravino – Master Gardener Windham Garden Club

by R. Rodgers

Cheryl Cravino

About how many different Hosta do you have in your yard – 2, 3, maybe 6?  Cheryl Cravino can’t say that.  Her secret love affair with Hosta has turned into HostaAmour with 1,108 different varieties of the leafy beauties in her yard!  The Pelham resident has been a Windham Garden Club member since 2006.  The Windham Garden Club is a powerful, positive force in Windham.  The Club is 50+ members of strong women and men who share their passion of gardening with the community in many ways.  Cheryl is currently the only non-Windham member, and she’s a keeper!  She has consistently donated to the Annual Plant Sale and has allowed overflow plant storage for the Club at her home.

Cheryl’s commitment to the Windham Garden Club and horticulture stems from a long line of gardeners in her family.  Her grandmother Myrtle Flynn was the first person known to hybridize water lilies.  To hybridize a plant is to cross two different plants to create a third.  Her mother had beautiful gardens, and all her sisters have green thumbs too!

After moving into her husband Rick’s childhood home 21 years ago with the challenge of making a garden from scratch in the woodland 1¾ acre property, they set out for what seemed like the impossible.  All these years later the gorgeous property has manicured gardens, complete with creative structures and stone walls, designed and built by Cheryl on 1½ acres of their property.

Mira tucked in Hosta

Cheryl’s favorite perennial, of course, is a Hosta, but which one!?  She also has the knack for hybridzing plants, creating “H. Matilda Jeanne,” her favorite plant, named after her beloved bulldogs.  Mira is her Garden Greeter these days.  The friendly bulldog is very polite and welcoming, starting visitors on their search for their “favorite” Hosta!

Cheryl started her elicit love affair with Hosta as a weekend hobby with about 100 varieties of Hosta that she liked to grow and share with family and friends.  That has turned into a side business that she does on the weekends after working a 50-hour week as a Marketing and Creative Service Director.

Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, Cheryl is also a Master Gardener.  In 2009 she attended a 30+ week program at the UNH Extension, a program that covers everything there is to know about gardening from invasive species to bird movement.  The class finished with Cheryl was more than capable to answer the questions on the UNH garden Hot Line.  “They would call about literally everything from bugs to zucchini bread recipes!” laughed Cheryl.  Part of the program also calls for the student to design, supervise, and execute a major gardening project in the community.  Cheryl worked with a Hudson Junior Women’s Group and installed a Butterfly Garden at Benson’s Park.  The Butterfly Garden is now well established and has been designated as a Monarch Waystation.  By creating and maintaining this garden, she has contributed to the conservation of monarch butterflies and helped with their preservation and the continued spectacular monarch migration.

HostaAmour, a shabby chic garden experience, is now available for you to explore.  Cheryl shares her gardens and her “Chic Shed” with the public throughout the summer months on weekends beginning Mother’s Day.  Cheryl proves that there is magic in nature and that gardening does make a difference in the world.  “My wish is that people would look at the beauty that surrounds them and not take it for granted,” said Cheryl.

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Meeting April 21, 2022

Town Hall, 3 N. Lowell St, 7:00 PM

“Attracting Birds, Bees and Butterflies to Your Yard,” Betty Sanders

There’s no better way to wake than to birdsong and no better insecticide than a hungry bird. Bees and butterflies add beauty and life to a garden. Some plants will lure them to your property and keep them there year round. Lifetime Master Gardener Betty Sanders presents this program to help gardeners bring song, beauty, and pollinators to our gardens by including plants to attract them. Betty will suggest a few carefully selected plants to make gardens a better environment for the gardener, plants, and the world we share.

Betty Sanders is a widely recognized speaker on gardening and environmental subjects. She has lectured at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Boston Flower Show, the Boston Public Library, the USDA, and at numerous garden clubs and civic groups throughout New England. She is also a nationally accredited Master floral design judge. Her gardens have been open for the Garden Conservancy Garden Tour. Betty has a lifetime of gardening experience as well as classes in horticulture and landscaping from the New York Botanical Garden and the Arnold Arboretum, among other institutions.

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Windham Garden Club Baker Grant

The Windham Garden Club is accepting applications for the 2022 Arthur Baker Community Investment Fund Grant. Proposals should relate to beautification, conservation, preservation, education, or horticulture in the Town of Windham.

To be considered, applicants must be non-profit Windham organizations or non-commercial individuals. Previous winners include Windham Rail Trail Alliance, Windham Historic Commission, Windham Co-op Kindergarten, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and Boy Scout Eagle and Girl Scout Gold Award Projects.

The attached Grant Application details the requirements. Application and all required supporting materials must be submitted to the Windham Garden Club by April 30, 2022 to be considered.

The committee will announce the award recipients no later than June 1, 2022.

Download the Grant application here WGC Baker Grant Letter and Application 2022

If you have any questions, please email

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Windham Garden Club Scholarship

The Windham Garden Club will award two $2,000 scholarships this year. These annual scholarships are named in memory of Nancy Surette, past Club president and Windham Town Conservation Commission Chair. Letters of application must be sent by mail and postmarked no later than April 30, 2022. 

The applicant must be a class of 2022 graduate or older. Already matriculated college students and second career applicants are encouraged to apply. Scholarships will be awarded to applicants planning to study life sciences including but not limited to biochemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, conservation, landscaping, environmental science or a plant related course of study. Applicants must be Windham, NH residents or Windham Garden Club Member’s direct family (spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild) residing in a neighboring town. Eligibility will be determined by the Scholarship Committee.

The attached notice details the requirements for a Letter of Application. The committee will announce the two award recipients in May 2022.

Download the application here: WGC Nancy Surette scholarship letter and application 2022

If you have any questions, please email

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March 17th 2022 Meeting

Windham Garden Club March Meeting – “Climate Change, Impacts, and Solutions

The Windham Garden Club’s March meeting will be Thursday, March 17th, 7:00pm at the Windham Town Hall. This is an open meeting and all are invited to attend. The guest speaker will be Robert Dewey MD of the NH Healthcare Workers for Climate Action presenting “Climate Change, Impacts, and Solutions.”  The talk will include climate science basics, health effects, and climate solutions including clean energy solutions and what we can do as individuals.

NH Healthcare Workers for Climate Action is a diverse statewide group of healthcare professionals that includes physicians, nurses, PAs, nurse practitioners, mental health workers, dentists, physical therapists, and medical and nursing students.  Their mission is to educate other healthcare workers and the public regarding the severe health effects of climate change. They hope that this increased awareness will mobilize the public in support of climate solutions to improve health for all.  For more information visit their website at

Robert Dewey is a retired Cardiologist who worked over 30 years at CMC in Manchester, NH.  He is a Board Member and Co-Chair of the Speakers Bureau at NH Healthcare Workers for Climate Action. he has had a special interest in maintaining green space and protecting our local forests.

For more information or questions contact We hope you can join us for this informative presentation!

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Meeting February 17th, 2022

Town Hall, 3 N.Lowell St, 7:00 PM
“State of The Loon – The Natural History, Challenges, and Successes
of Loons in New Hampshire”, Harry Vogel

Have you ever wondered why a loon’s eyes are red? Why loon chicks
ride on their parents’ backs? What loons are saying with those eerie calls
in the night? Join biologist Harry Vogel as he talks about this unique
symbol of New Hampshire’s wild lakes and its special place in the hearts
of New Hampshire residents. Harry will talk about loons, challenges
facing loons, and the Loon Preservation Committee’s work to safeguard
New Hampshire’s threatened loon population.

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Windham Garden Club Robin Heider

By R. Rodgers

“Mom, When am I going to be a gardener?,” asked Robin Heider of her mother when she was quite young, wanting to follow in her mom’s footsteps.  This question seems unbelievable coming from Robin, the “Chief” of the Windham Garden Club.  Robin’s parents were both avid gardeners her whole life, but she just couldn’t seem to find the time for it.  That’s all changed now and has been for a very long time.  Robin and her husband Bruce have devoted their retirement to tending their garden, “The Yard”. 

The high school sweethearts moved to Windham in 1976 and still live in the same beautiful home where the morning sun greets them hello and the sunset bids them goodnight each day.  “When we first came here, Bruce grew vegetables, but as the trees grew in we switched to perennials,” said Robin.

Beauty Berry bush in full bloom.

Robin’s garden holds many favorites for her in the spring it’s all the bright colored bulbs and peonies, and of course day lilies that she loves.  Her real favorites, though, are the Hosta, coral bells, and the plants that don’t “show off” with flowers.  She much prefers their foliage and the textures of the less showy plants.  “There is so much to enjoy about plants besides the flowers,” said Robin.  Her gardens are mostly shady.  Lately, she has been turning more toward shrubs and container gardens for their ease of care.  Her most prized shrub is the Beauty Berry (callicarpa americana), a seemly insignificant 3-to-6-foot shrub that only shows its glory in late summer through fall in the manner of bright, plump purple berry clusters.  Taking care of the “Yard” is a full-time job for the pair and a great retirement activity.  They work from March through November, starting with pruning and ending with mulch.  When she’s not in her garden, she volunteers at many places, including one of her favorites, Bedrock Gardens in Lee NH in the “Hands in Dirt” program.  Robin was a Founding Member of the Windham Garden Club in 1990. 

The Windham Garden Club has volunteers that take special care of many spots in the town.  Robin is there for each work detail, from planning all the way through to watering the masterpieces when they are finished.  These places include the Butterfly Garden at the Nesmith Library, the Town Hall, Bartley House, Veterans Cemetery, and the Gazebo.  Aside from that she has been a Co-Chair of the Annual Plant Sale for many years.  The Plant Sale is the biggest undertaking for the club.  The money raised by the sale goes back into the community through scholarships and grants.  The Arthur Baker Community Investment Grant has been given out for projects like conservation mapping, High School Greenhouse Project, flagpole beautification, and trail markers to name a few, along with scholarships to graduation seniors.

The Club also gives out member recognition awards.  Receiving most of them over the years, including the Mighty Oak, where she was dubbed “Chief” and given the Golden Trowel for outstanding achievements in service, Robin also WOW’ed two Presidents.  Officially that is, I’m sure they were all “wow’ed” by Robin and her amazing dedication to the Club and her never-ending strive to make the earth a better place.  “I promote people to join the garden club.  There is so much to learn.  I’ve been around a long time and I’m still learning!” encouraged Robin.