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Meeting January 20, 2022

Please note this is a Zoom Meeting, 7:00 PM


The Heirloom Gardener”, John Forti


Modern Life is a cornucopia of technological wonders. But are we losing the tangible bond with the natural world that was enjoyed by previous generations? John Forti, author of The Heirloom Gardener, offers a garden historian’s pathway to remembering the joys and lessons that pre-industrial technologies and heirloom garden crafts can offer if we choose to adapt them to foster a more sustainable future. John offers a uniquely curated blend of history, horticulture, environmentalism, poetry, art, kitchen and garden craft.


John Forti is a garden historian, horticulturist, and ethnobotanist who has directed gardens for Plimoth Plantation Museum, Strawberry Banke Museum, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and Bedrock Gardens. He also serves as a regional Slow Food Governor and biodiversity specialist for Slow Food USA. He has won numerous awards for historic garden preservation and children’s garden design, and he received the 2020 Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs, the largest nonprofit volunteer gardening organization in the world. He lectures nationally, and he reaches millions globally from his Facebook page The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti. Follow him at www.jforti.com. He gardens and lives along the banks of the Piscataqua River in Maine.

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Windham Garden Club Learns about Gardening with Herbs

On Thursday, November 17th, the Windham Garden Club (the “WGC”) met at the Town Hall for two and a half hours to learn about herb gardening in New Hampshire. 

The presentation covered various herbs – both common and uncommon – that can grow in New Hampshire, along with detailed:

  • Growing tips for the herb;
  • Culinary uses for the herb;
  • Claimed medical uses for the herb;
  • Historical facts about the herb, including traditions and superstitions;
  • Common pests;
  • Garden organization; and
  • Propagation methods.

My favorite fact shared during the event is that:  according to legend, if there is a thriving rosemary plant in front of the house, a strong woman runs the household.  I know the first thing I will be planting in the spring!  We also learned that the hollow petioles from the lovage plant make good straws for a Bloody Mary. 

Some of the herbs we discussed in particular were: parsley, basil, sweet woodruff, borage, calendula, chamomile, chives, coriander, comfrey, anise hyssop, basil, bay, bee balm, dill, fennel rue, lavender, lemon verbena, lovage, mint, rosemary, sage, stinging nettle, thyme, and yarrow.   

The WGC organized the program through the University of New Hampshire Extension Speaker’s Bureau.   Our lecturer, Sarah Marcoux:    

Sarah Marcoux
  • Has delivered presentations as part of the University of New Hampshire Extension Speaker’s Bureau since 2017, lecturing around the state at garden clubs, libraries, and other venues;
  • Has been a master gardener since 2016; 
  • Is the mother of the youngest master gardener in New Hampshire; and
  • Volunteers for the UNH Extension Free Seeds for Education program, which donates seeds to educational groups to teach the science and importance of plants.

The Windham Garden Club’s mission is bringing together people who are interested in all aspects of gardening, horticulture, and conservation.  Membership meetings run September through June on the third Thursday of the month in the evening and are open to the public. The WGC also decorated a holiday tree, which you can see on display in the Town Commons.        

Be sure to join the WGC at one of its upcoming meetings:

  • January 20 – “The Heirloom Gardener” by author and garden historian John Forti.  Zoom
  • February 17 – “State of the Loon – The Natural History, Challenges, and Successes of Loons in New Hampshire” by biologist Harry Vogel.  Windham Town Hall
  • March 17 – “Exploring Nature’s Ability to Teach and Heal!” by Lisa Burris, Executive Director of Turn Back Time, a nature education program. 
  • April 21 – “Attracting Birds, Bees and Butterflies to Your Yard” by Betty Sanders, a lifetime Master Gardener. 

Membership in the Windham Garden Club is open to gardeners of all levels and is only $20.  If you are interested in joining, visit www.windhamgardenclub.org/membership/ or email info@windhamgardenclub.com. 

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Gardening in Windham

Meet Margaret Crisler

Margaret Crisler

by R. Rodgers

Iris – Dream On

“I am most passionate about iris – both German and Siberians, and I have a Lot of them!”, remarks Margaret Crisler one of Windham Garden Club’s Master Gardeners.  Margaret, I found is passionate about many things, gardening being very high on the list, along with her constant companion Max, her 13-year-old golden retriever.  To become a Master Gardener, it takes hours of volunteer time and continued commitment to the community.  As a Master Gardener she shares her knowledge freely.  Margaret’s initial Master Gardener project was the beautiful stone wall and garden in front of Nesmith Library, she organized volunteers, acquired plants and made it happen.  Making things happen is one of Margaret’s super powers.  Currently, she is working with the Windham Endowment on the Wildflower Garden at the new Moeckel dam site. 

Margaret has been a garden club member since 1995, she has worked consistently on many projects over the years, but her most demanding – and enjoyable has been the plant sale.  For more than 25 years, she has donated hundreds of plants from her garden, all except the blood root.  Her blood root is very special and she keeps it close.  “Planting blood root is easy but you need to know how. First you dig a big hole, place a piece of firewood, like oak or maple in the bottom, backfill with good soil and plant your start on top,” Margaret explained.  Blood Root (sanguinaria canadensis) bloom white daisy like flowers in the early spring and is a native of North America. It’s a good idea to overplant with ginger to fill in after the foliage dies back.  Also, when planting lilies, you should include some fritillaria, to deter voles.

Bobo hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculate ‘Ilvobo’)

Bobo hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculate ‘Ilvobo’) is another of her most treasured, the one she likes to gift.  “They are small and so free blooming.  Actually, all hydrangeas are beautiful and work well in the perennial garden,” said Margaret.  “The soil here is acidic so they like a little lime,” she said.  Margaret learned her love of the garden from her great-grandmother in the south where she grew up.  “She would use me as ‘free labor’ pulling weeds, she would point and say pull, or she would say dig here, no deeper!”  Now I hire teenagers and I do the pointing,” laughs Margaret. 

She has three children. Only one of which is a passionate gardener.  Her grandmother was a real gardener, “she grew vegetables so her family eat during the depression.”  Margaret’s mother was not a gardener she was a golfer. 

Max is moving a little slow but was still ready to make friends and “hang out” throughout my visit. He is a beautiful, loving dog.

Of all the secrets she shared her most important advice was to dig big holes, test your soil, add lime and nutrients as needed, and read the tags carefully.  One of the hardest tasks to do here in Windham is keep everything watered!  If Margaret had a magic wand her wish would be that she was younger so she could garden more, “getting old is no fun.”  “The Garden Club is doing so well, we have great leadership and we are doing all the right stuff, my favorite part is we don’t have to dress up to go to meetings!”  “Hang in there and keep digging!” was Margaret’s closing wish. 

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Windham Garden Club Holds Second In-Person Meeting – “Gardening is Murder”

On Thursday, October 21st, the Windham Garden Club (the “WGC”) held its second meeting of the 2021 – 2022 membership year, with a featured presentation called “Gardening is Murder”.  Nearly every seat in the Town Hall was filled with members or guests, including several spouses, members of the Manchester Garden Club and the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs President, Sue Miner of Salem, NH. 

As our presenter, Neal Sanders, delivered a humorous talk on the spouse’s point of view on gardening, attendees laughed, sympathized, and walked away with some new information.  More importantly, the gardeners in the audience gained insight into the thoughts of their helpers (in this author’s case, the mind of her husband). 

Some of Neal’s words of wisdom included:

  • The fundamental gardening principle that the size of the rock you will encounter while digging a hole is directly proportionate to the importance of the plant you intend to put in that location
  • How it is impossible to do just one thing in the garden
  • Cautions about the dangers of internet gardening advice
  • Cautions that the squirrels in your yard have never seen a Disney film and thus are likely to misbehave

Our lecturer, Neal Sanders:    

Neal Sanders

  • Serves as “The Principal Undergardener” for his wife, who is a Lifetime Master Gardener.  His title is inspired by the hierarchy of gardeners on traditional British estates.
  • Is the author of 15 mystery novels, many of which use horticulture as a plot point.  These books include The Garden Club Gang, and A Murder at the Flower Show. 
  • Writes the blog “The Principal Undergardener”, with thoughts on gardens, gardening, and gardeners – available at theprincipalundergardener.blogspot.com.
  • Delivers similar lectures to groups around the country.

The Windham Garden Club’s mission is bringing together people who are interested in all aspects of gardening, horticulture, and conservation.  Membership meetings run September through June on the third Thursday of the month in the evening and are open to the public.     

Be sure to join the WGC at one of its upcoming meetings:

  • November 18 – “Herb Gardening” by Master Gardener Sarah Marcoux, on growing and using culinary herbs.  Windham Town Hall
  • January 20 – “The Heirloom Gardener” by author and garden historian John Forti.  Zoom
  • February 17 – “State of the Loon – The Natural History, Challenges, and Successes of Loons in New Hampshire” by biologist Harry Vogel.  Windham Town Hall
  • March 17 – “Exploring Nature’s Ability to Teach and Heal!” by Lisa Burris, Executive Director of Turn Back Time, a nature education program. 
  • April 21 – “Attracting Birds, Bees and Butterflies to Your Yard” by Betty Sanders, a lifetime Master Gardener. 

Membership in the Windham Garden Club is open to gardeners of all levels and is only $20.  If you are interested in joining, visit www.windhamgardenclub.org/membership/ or email info@windhamgardenclub.com. 

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Windham Garden Club Resumes In-Person Meetings, Hears from Rose Garden Expert

On Thursday, September 16th, the Windham Garden Club (the “WGC”) held its first meeting of the 2021 – 2022 membership year.  Although members had met outside for WGC activities such as the Club’s Annual Plant Sale last May, this was the first in-person membership meeting since February 2020. 

Members and their guests gathered at the Town Hall for a presentation on “Winterizing Your Roses” by Teresa Mosher, a local rose expert, who:

  • Served as President of the New England Rose Society for 12 years.
  • A Horticulture Rose Judge
  • Is a Master Rosarian for the American Rose Society (certified by the American Rose Society as an expert who can provide free advice on roses; if you are interested in speaking with a Consulting or Master Rosarian to advise on your roses, visit the American Rose Society website at arsroses.org or New England Rose Society, rosepetals.org.
  • Is the author of “A Year In My Rose Garden”; and How Roses Touch Our Lives.
  • Has over forty years of experience with roses, and over 250 roses and thousands of perennials in her garden.   

Teresa Mosher

Attendees at the WGC September meeting learned:

  • Differences between varieties of roses;
  • How to carefully select appropriate roses for our region;
  • How to plant the rose depending on whether the plant has been grafted; and
  • How to protect the different varieties of roses from harsh winter winds. 

The Windham Garden Club’s mission is bringing together people who are interested in all aspects of gardening, horticulture, and conservation.  Membership meetings run September through June on the third Thursday of the month in the evening and are open to the public.     

Be sure to join the WGC at one of its upcoming meetings:

  • October 21 – “Gardening is Murder”.  A humorous presentation by Neal Sanders on the “spouse’s point of view” on gardening.  Windham Town Hall
  • November 18 – A hands-on workshop to create holiday decorations.
  • January 20 – “The Heirloom Gardener” by author and garden historian John Forti.  Zoom
  • February 17 – “State of the Loon – The Natural History, Challenges, and Successes of Loons in New Hampshire” by biologist Harry Vogel.  Windham Town Hall
  • March 17 – “Exploring Nature’s Ability to Teach and Heal!” by Lisa Burris, Executive Director of Turn Back Time, a nature education program. 
  • April 21 – “Attracting Birds, Bees and Butterflies to Your Yard” by Betty Sanders, a lifetime Master Gardener. 

Membership in the Windham Garden Club is open to gardeners of all levels and is only $20.  If you are interested in joining, visit www.windhamgardenclub.org/membership/ or email info@windhamgardenclub.com.