The first meeting of the year included a program on Seed Starting by our own Master Gardeners Elena Whitfield and Monica Light. They put together a slide presentation that was also well attended by members of the public.

Slide program by Elena Whitfield and Monica Light


In lieu of a program for the March meeting, the annual Yankee Swap was held. It is always a fun event that members look forward to.

March 22nd Yankee Swap

Lucky #1 gets to choose at the end from all the gifts. Sorry Bonnie!


In April the HGC had two programs, one as a co-sponsor with the Hooksett Public Library and the Hooksett Village Water Precinct on Rain Barrels and the other, a speaker for our regular monthly meeting, Neil Sanders on "Gardening is Murder".

The main speaker for the Rain Barrel program was Lisa Loosigian, Soak Up the Rain New Hampshire Program Coordinator, New Hampshire

Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). Lisa manages the Soak Up the Rain NH program, providing technical, educational, and outreach services through presentations, trainings, and project assistance. The other speaker, who introduced Lisa, was Mike Heidorn, Superintendent of the Hooksett Village Water Precinct. The water precint had donated a retrofitted rain barrel which was given as a door prize to Jennifer Harris. To find out more about rain barrels go to: https://www4.des.state.nh.us/SoakNH/wp-content/uploads/ 2020/03 rain-barrel.pdf

Rain Barrel Program

Gardening is Murder

Neil Sanders,  author, speaker and humorist, was the speaker for the April 26 meeting. His program “Gardening is Murder” tells the stories of his gardening experiences at the direction of his Master Gardener wife Betty. Always willing to please, Neil illustrates how gardening can sometimes be murder. Although his presentation is humorous, you can see by the landscaping of his home and the knowledge that he has of what he plants, that both he and Betty are serious gardeners.  Neil retired from the corporate world in 2005 to try his hand at writing and since then has written 15 books with horticulture, in some respect, as their theme. His characters include strong, independent women who sometimes solve the crime and sometimes commit them. After the program Neil had a table with his books for sale and signed them.


On May 16 five members of the Bridge Committee – Doris Sorel, Cindy Coburn, Paula Harris, Rachel Sweeney and Carolyn Taylor, met at  Flora Bella, the LaValleys greenhouse, to plant the pink and white petunias that will go on the Memorial Bridge at the end of June.

Planting Bridge Flowers

On May 17, the NHFGC celebrated their 90th Anniversary with the annual dinner, this year held at the Castleton in Windham. Five members of the HGC attended, Rachel Sweeney, Paula Harris, Cindy Coburn, Carolyn Taylor and Ron Trexler. To celebrate the 90th, attendees all posed outside forming the number 90 and a drone photo was taken. Sue Miner stepped down as President and WInnie Schmidt took her place. A new board for 2023-2025 was sworn in, including HGC's Ron Trexler as Assistant Treasurer.

NHFGC 90th Annual Meeting

Our speaker for the May 24 meeting was Michelle Mensinger. Michelle, is a Derry Garden Club member as well as their former President; former President of the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs; and current chair of Backyard Habitat (includes Birds and Butterflies) for both the NHFGC and the New England Garden Clubs. At the last NHFGC annual meeting on May 17 she was presented with the Purple Finch Award, the highest award given by the NH Federation of Garden Clubs. Michelle comes in full bee costume and full of knowledge. She did a power point presentation of photos all taken by her at her home. She told us that pollinators are not just bees but include wasps, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, bats, flies, and wind. 

May Meeting with speaker Michelle Mensinger

Library Gardens chairwoman Aida Jacques scheduled a library clean up for the third week in May. Roses and bushes were pruned, weeding was done and mulch was spread. Other clean up dates will come later in the summer. At the moment we have roses and lilacs blooming.

Library Gardens

Our newest beautification project is having two large Whiskey Barrels at each end of the Lilac Bridge. On May 10, Project Chair Doris Sorel, Co-Chair Bonnie Pierce and Rachel Sweeney went before the Hooksett Town Council to get permission for this new project and the barrels were planted just before Memorial Day.

Whiskey Barrels on the Lilac Bridge

Pansies on the Memorial Bridge on May 30


Anual plant Sale on Saturday June 3.

Although we went through some anxiety when our former plant sale site at R&R Wholesale was suddenly no longer available, we had a very succcessful day at our new venue, the Hooksett Library, despite the 50 degree temperature and drizzle. The Boy Scouts of Troop 292 from Hooksett and their leader Jeff Scott were not only helpful in setting up our tables but were at the end of the road near the lights with a sign directing people to our sale. Elisabeth and Ellen did a phenomenal job planning out where each table would go and transporting all the plants to the library from their house. We had a record 20+ raffle items this year and the raffle table was busy as was the yard sale table. A table for Pots for Kids was set up to give away the pots and seeds we had planned on giving away in May for National Garden Week. The Library Friends also had a bake sale on the porch which added to the fun. 

2023 Plant Sale

Plant Chairwomen, Elisabeth Murphy (center) and Ellen Doherty on right (on left is Elisabeth's Mom).

Cocktails in the Garden at the Home of Karen Medeiros 

Our first "Cocktails in the Garden" of the year was held at the home of Karen Medeiros. Karen did her first garden party in August of 2021 so we got to see a totally different garden in June. Karen has a beautiful garden of flowers, vegetables, fruit trees and lots of interesting garden art. Members and guests got to enjoy the garden while having wonderful food and drinks. NHFGC President Winnie Schmidt, Second Vice President Fiona McKenna, and District II Director Diane Beaudry also attended.

"Cocktails in the Garden" on June 22


Cocktails in the Garden at the Home of Cindy Coburn 

On July 26 the HGC held its second "Cocktails in the Garden" at the home of Cindy and Christopher Coburn. Several members and guests enjoyed their huge yard, lots of wonderful food and drinks and good company. Cindy and Chris have a large fenced in vegetable garden.

Second "Cocktails in the Garden" on July 26


Library Gardens early August 2023

August Open House at Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon, NH 

The HGC was invited to attend an Open House at Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon. This once a year event is only for garden clubs and people who purchase plants for garden centers and is by invitation only. This is their viewing garden and it was spectacular! They also provided attendees with breakfast and lunch and also had an ice cream truck on the premises. You could attend lectures or tours or view the gardens on your own. They do trials for next years plants there and we got to see some of those already chosen for 2024.

Pleasant View Gardens Open House

Flowers on the Bridge  and the Town Trough 

On August 6, the pink and white petunias on the Hooksett Memorial Bridge look wonderful as does the Trough taken care of by Jean D'Espinosa.

Our third and final garden party for 2023 was held on  August 23 at the home of Bonnie Pierce and her husband Jed. Bonnie has a large yard with flowers, vegetables and lots of garden art and beautiful trellises. She provided the members, spouses and guests with lots of great food and drink. A plant swap was also held, an anticipated event each year. Member Ron Trexler raffled some of his houseplants which included some beautiful plumeria trees. He also gave a tutorial on how to propogate and grow these beautiful plants.

Garden party at the home of Bonnie Pierce


Eleven HGC members attended the Fall Meeting of the NHFGC at the Fells in Newbury, NH on September 12, hosted by District IV. The day included a light breakfast, a pre-purchased box lunch and two docent led tours of the gardens and the house as well as free time to explore on your own.

Fall NHFGC meeting at the Fells

Our first meeting back at the library on September 27 after our summer garden parties included a program by Bill Stockman, former owner of Spider Web Gardens in Tuftonboro, NH form 1973 to 2019. Bill now lives half the year on the island of Montserratt  and a lot of his presentation was about living there and the tropical plants there. He also talked about taking care of houseplants, especially tropical ones.

Bill Stockman at the September meeting

Some of our beautification sites in late September/early October

Wreath Pick up Day the Saturday after Thanksgiving

On December 5, an installation ceremony was held at the Hooksett Library for the new 2024-2025 HGC officers. NHFGC President Winnie Schmidt and District II Director Diane Beaudry officiated. 

Front row, L-R: Rachel Sweeney, President; NHFGC President Winnie Schmidt; District II Director Diane Beaudry. Back Row: Bonnie Pierce, Vice President; Caragh Doyle, Co-Recording Secretary; Doreen DeRose, Treasurer; and Diana Proulx, Recording Secretary. Missing from photo is Monica Light, Co- Recording Secretary.

Installation of Officers for 2024 – 2025

Ringing Bells for the Salvation Army at Bass Pro in Hooksett