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The State of New Hampshire Birds – Windham Garden Club Meeting

Scientists estimate that over the last 50 years, North America has lost approximately 3 billion birds, or 25% of the bird population.  What does this mean for the 300 species of birds found in New Hampshire?   This was the topic of the Windham Garden Club’s first meeting of the 2022 – 2023 membership year on Thursday, September 15th.   

NH Audubon photos available at www.nhaudubon.org/conservation/the-state-of-the-birds/

The presentation by Pamela Hunt, Ph.D. from NH Audubon included a discussion of:

  • General population trends for NH birds;
  • Variation across the nine types of habitats in NH – spruce-fir forests, hardwoods / mixed forests, shrublands, grasslands, rocky and alpine habitats, wetlands, lakes and rivers, coastal habitats, and developed areas;
  • The challenges faced by migratory birds;
  • The major threats to waterfowl, shorebirds, ocean birds, birds of prey, and aerial insectivores;
  • The threats posed by outdoor cats, who kill more than two billion birds per year; and   
  • What we as individuals can do to help conserve local birds.  These activities include keeping pets indoors or on a leash, making windows bird-safe, planting native trees and shrubs, avoiding toxic chemicals, supporting local agriculture, and helping to collect data on birds. 

Our speaker, Pamela Hunt, Ph.D:    

  • Is a Senior Biologist for Avian Conservation at the NH Audubon, where she works closely with NH Fish and Game to coordinate and prioritize bird research and monitoring in the state;
  • Authored the NH’s State of the Birds reports and is a core member of the team that developed New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plans; 
  • Coordinated the NH Dragonfly Survey, which mapped distribution of dragonflies in the state over a five year period;
  • Received the National Wildlife Federation’s “Celebrating Women in Conservation” award in 2016;   
  • Served as an Adjunct Faculty member at Colby-Sawyer College; and
  • Has a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, a M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College.

Read more about The State of NH Birds, what you can do to help conserve NH’s birds, and download the 2020 State of the Birds Report from NH Audubon at www.nhaudubon.org/conservation/the-state-of-the-birds/.

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 its next meeting at the Windham Town Hall on October 20th!

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

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Windham Garden Club Learns about Heirloom Gardening

“When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” – Francis Bacon. 

Humans have been gardening for thousands of years – for culinary, medicinal, and aesthetic purposes.  Although society has developed significantly, we can learn much from the past as we work toward a sustainable future. 

On Thursday, January 20th, garden historian and ethnobotanist John Forti spoke with the Windham Garden Club (the “WGC”) about how we can further cultivate our connection with the land.  Ethnobotany explores how people have used plants for food, textiles, medicine, and other purposes through the ages in different cultures. 

Mr. Forti’s presentation included a discussion of:

  • Plants you can grow in your garden for culinary purposes;
  • Native plants, such as Joe Pye-weed and ostrich ferns;
  • Traditional methods of growing certain vegetables;
  • The importance of growing food that is native to the region;
  • Preservation of heirloom seeds – with a note that over the last 100 years humans have narrowed the genetic diversity of plants that feed us by over 90%;
  • The importance of farmers’ markets (with the location of particularly good farmers’ markets in our area!); and
  • Information on the history of certain herbs, such as sage and wasabi. For example, we learned that sage has antibacterial properties, which is why it was traditionally used to season meat.  Similarly, the wasabi plant also has antibacterial properties, which explains its historical pairing with sushi.    

Our speaker, John Forti:    

  • Authored the book The Heirloom Gardener: Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World;
  • Serves as the Executive Director of Bedrock Gardens in Lee, NH (bedrockgardens.org);
  • Is the former Director of Horticulture for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the oldest horticultural society in the country; and
  • Has thousands of followers on his Facebook page, where he blogs as “The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti”.

  Read more about John Forti at jforti.com.

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:

  • 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 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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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.