Holiday Magic Awards

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” thanks to all of you who participated in the Holiday Magic event sponsored by The Amherst Garden Club, as well as the neighborhoods/streets that came together to produce very creative holiday decorations!

Below are our winners along with a tour handout that you can print for heading out to check out the lights. We have grouped the participating houses into three areas in Amherst, so take a different route each night! You won’t want to miss any of it, but please slow down and drive responsibly, as some of these areas will have more cars than usual.

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Adding Compost to Civic Gardens

This year as part of the fall cleanup of the club’s Civic Gardens, several of the teams decided to apply a top dressing of compost to improve soil fertility and improve the health of the gardens next season. In addition to adding important nutrients, the addition of the compost will improve the ability of the soil to absorb and hold water, which is increasingly important given recent droughts and the lack of irrigation at most of the gardens.

Happily, the day that was selected for delivery of the compost was sunny and warm for November, and we had a great turnout of volunteers. It was definitely an illustration of the concept that “many hands make light work.” Thank you to all of the volunteers, particularly Patty Healy Osborne and her husband Ken for letting us use their truck to transport the compost (3 yards in total) saving the club delivery costs.

Can’t wait to see the results!

You’re Invited! Webinar: Encouraging Wildlife Diversity in Designed Landscapes

Presented by Matt Tarr

Join the Amherst Garden Club on Thursday, May 7 at 10:30 AM for this webinar.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Click to join:
https://unh.zoom.us/j/92173654172

Meeting ID: 921 7365 4172

To join by phone:
+1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)

A recorded version of the webinar will hopefully be available.

Matt Tarr, Wildlife State Specialist
Matt Tarr, Wildlife State Specialist

An abundance of wildlife is one of the best indicators of an ecologically well-designed landscape. By understanding how pollinators, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians select their habitats during each season of the year, we can design landscapes that effectively attract and support a diversity of wildlife.

Matt will provide practical methods for designing ecologically complete landscapes that invite human interaction and transcend simple aesthetics through their functioning interconnected elements.

Join us for this webinar and learn how to encourage wildlife diversity in your own landscape.
Continue reading “You’re Invited! Webinar: Encouraging Wildlife Diversity in Designed Landscapes”

The Courage and Tenacity of Trees

Perhaps you forgot, with all that is going on, but today is Arbor Day (April 24).

In honor of the holiday, and fitting for the times, a garden club member wanted to share these images of trees that have persisted in spite of great challenges.

(Disclaimer: This set of photos has been making the rounds on the Internet; we can’t be certain that none were Photoshopped!)

1 of 28: A place of enchantment

Continue reading “The Courage and Tenacity of Trees”

Monarch butterfly release!

This morning Donna Miller taught the Amherst Garden Club all about the monarch butterfly’s life cycle and migration in her talk, Where Have All the Monarchs Gone? As a citizen scientist for Monarch Watch, Donna helps tag and track the butterflies during their fall migration.

Donna showed us how to tag a butterfly by placing a small, harmless sticker on its wing, and then she released it behind the Messiah Lutheran Church to begin its journey south.

¡Adiós, amigo!

Donna Miller releasing a monarch

Want to learn more about monarch butterflies? Check out Donna’s Monarch Butterfly Resource List.

Photos from Trip to Proven Winners

A handful of garden club members recently made a trip to Pleasant View Gardens — home of Proven Winners® — in Loudon, NH as part of a tour organized by Weston Nurseries. The group had a great time touring the impressive growing facility and walking through the demonstration gardens. The day also included lunch and a presentation by Kerry Ann Mendez.

(Photos courtesy of Joan Poltack)

A Visit to Wells Corner (Epsom, NH)

A group of club members and guests recently enjoyed a special tour of an Epsom, New Hampshire property called Wells Corner.  Homeowner Kyle Landt led the tour of her property that features an 18th century house with a post and beam barn. The landscape design is her own vision, and what a vision it is! The garden has been transformed in the course of thirty years from a simple landscape of vinca and tawny daylilies to one filled with deep mixed borders. The borders are comprised of small trees, shrubs, and perennials interspersed with 250 flats of annuals.

(Photos courtesy of Barbara Williams)

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Deeply influenced by the late Christopher Lloyd’s book, The Adventurous Gardener, and his gardens at Great Dixter in England, where she makes regular trips, Dr. Landt plans her own designs determining color only after considering plant texture, size, and shape. Her advice includes improving the soil before planting and topdressing annually with her own special compost mix. It is vital to give the plants a running start in this short growing climate, she advises.

Walking the natural path around the buildings, one discovers a reward at each destination such as a raised octagonal potager, a woodland walk, and a large koi pond built to look like a natural spring overflowing a horse trough.

The morning ended with the group resting on the shaded porch while Dr. Landt entertained with stories and provided much useful gardening information.

Read more about Wells Corner in the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program guide and a recent issue of New Hampshire Home magazine.

Wells Corner Garden Spring Soil Prep

To each wheelbarrow of good quality compost, add:

  • 1½ gallons alfalfa pellets
  • 1 gallon bone meal*
  • ½ gallon of commercial 19-19-19 fertilizer

Mix together and spread evenly to depth of 1 – 1½ inches. Fork in before planting or use as top dressing on established perennials and shrubs.

If applying to acid-loving plants, mix 50/50 with peat.

* For an animal-free alternative, try rock phosphate.