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.

Photos from the Sunflower Festival (Lee, NH)

(Re-posting since photos were not properly linked first time.)

The Sunflower Festival at Coppal House Farm in Lee, NH is an annual event. Barbara Williams visited on July 30 and reports that it was a wonderful show — acres of sunflowers in several varieties — and ponds with cattails, too.

Each year the farm posts the prime time to visit, usually sometime in the last two weeks of July or first two weeks of August. This year’s festival runs July 28 – August 5 (see web site for details). Lee is an easy hour’s drive east of Amherst, and the sunflowers are well worth the trip!

(Photos courtesy of Barbara Williams)

Trip Report: Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden Tour

On July 20, about a dozen garden club members and their guests hopped aboard the Gulf Challenger research vessel in New Castle, NH and pushed off for an enjoyable 45-minute boat ride to Appledore Island, home of Celia Thaxter’s famous island garden.

Posted by Amherst Garden Club on Friday, July 20, 2018

The tour, run by Marine Docent volunteers and the Shoals Marine Laboratory staff — including our own Marie Nickerson, steward of Celia’s garden — included not only the garden but other sites of interest on the island, such as the graveyard where Celia Thaxter is buried.

Purely by chance, our club was there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly completed piazza (wooden porch) that once connected Celia’s cottage to her garden. Standing on this rebuilt piazza, we enjoyed breathtaking island scenery just as Celia did more than over 100 years ago.

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Jennifer Seavey, Kingsbury Executive Director, dedicates the new piazza

View from the new piazza (photo credit: Becky Stoughton)

One unexpected element of the day was that we saw seagull chicks everywhere. Appledore Island is a coastal breeding ground for gulls, and Black-backed and Herring gulls were in full protective-parenting mode, swooping down on anyone perceived to threaten a nesting site.  (For a 3.5-minute video of what we experienced, watch How Nature Works: Gull Territoriality.)

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A Black-backed gull with two chicks

Thank you to Marti Warren for organizing this unforgettable trip (including the stressful task of making sure that no one missed the boat!) and documenting the day in photos.

Marie Nickerson and Marti Warren in Celia’s garden (photo credit: Becky Stoughton)


Moulton’s Oval Garden Gets a Sundial

If you’ve passed Moulton’s Oval lately, you may have noticed the new armillary sundial. The arrival of this sundial ends a long wait to find an ornament that would add balance and interest to this garden. The Moulton’s Oval garden team considered many ideas —including a boulder,  birdbath, or sculpture. Then garden club member Peter Sevier offered to make a sundial, and that sounded perfect.

Armillary Sundial in Moulton’s Oval Garden (July 2018)


Creating an accurate sundial takes skill and precision. What a surprise to learn that Peter knew how to bend steel and engrave brass. He even contacted the North American Sundial Society for guidance.

While Peter worked on the sundial, the search began to find a suitable base. The Department of Public Works invited the club to look through their piles of leftover boulders and blocks, and the team selected a couple good-sized pieces of granite. Perry Day and his DPW crew then kindly delivered them to the oval. After the garden team relocated a few perennials to make space, a thoughtful and capable passerby “muscled’ the rocks into place.

Peter was on site and already had a plan for how to mount the sundial to the granite. It had to be positioned precisely to be an accurate timepiece. The fixed brass rod in the center points north and is parallel to the earth’s axis. As the sun appears to move across the sky, the rod casts a shadow on the “equatorial ring” of Roman numerals, one for each hour from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

You are welcome to approach the sundial as a path has been cleared. For best results, check it out on a sunny day.

AGC Celebrates the 4th of July

Once again the Amherst Garden Club participated in the 4th of July parade, winning “Chairman’s Choice” for their theme:We the People… of the Amherst Garden Club!

Congratulations to organizers Joan Poltack, Dawn Burke, and Diane Merrithew, and to everyone who came out to walk. Thank you for representing our club so well and for promoting the many ways that we — the people of the Amherst Garden Club — contribute to this community. You made us proud. (Photo credits: Joan Poltack and Becky Stoughton)




Garden Club Awards Scholarships

Amber Paquette, Hannah Kershaw, and Hannah Pike

Each year the Amherst Garden Club awards one or more scholarships to encourage promising students to study horticulture, botany, plant science, landscape design, or environmental science as it relates to horticulture.

Congratulations to this year’s deserving recipients: Amber Paquette, who will continue her studies at SUNY Cobleskill, Hannah Kershaw (Souhegan High School graduate), who will attend the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, and Hannah Pike (Souhegan High School graduate), who will head to Keene State College.