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Thirty Plants that Pay the Rent !

Adriana O'Sullivan - Thirty Plants That Pay The Rent!
Rowley Public Library
Time: 6:30-8:30 pm
Date: Tuesday, 01/08

GMGC's January program, "Thirty Plants that Pay the Rent" by Adriana O'Sullivan is sure to get everyone to start thinking forward to Spring. She will be presenting a slide show and lecture emphasizing perennials, shrubs and trees that are excellent choices for our area.

GMGC is in it's 6th season! GMGC is an open to all and is committed to attracting new members along with retaining existing members. To get started just complete the membership form or for more information email GMGC Membership Committee Chair - Carolyn. View 2012/13 Calendar of Club Events

GMGC Movie Night!

October 2, 2012

QueenofTheSun-LogoGreat Marsh Garden Club hosted it’s first movie night, “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”.  A 2010 documentary film directed by Taggart Siegel providing a profound, alternative look at the bee crisis, which investigates multiple angles of the recent bee epidemic colony collapse disorder.

This film has been described as “Inspirational and Revelatory” by the New York Times Critic’s Pick, “Remarkable” by Roger Ebert, and “The feel good Advocacy Movie of the Year” by Box Office Magazine.

Keeping with the theme of the movie, GMGC members brought in snacks made with honey.  The overwhelming crowd favorite was popcorn drizzled with honey.  It was a great evening to sit back, relax, learn, and enjoy the imagery in the film. If you missed the film, the movie trailer can be viewed at and the full film is available at the Ipswich Public Library.

GMGC 6th Season Kick-off Program 09/11/12

September 11, 2012

Mill River Winery - RowleyGMGC opened it’s 6th season at the Mill River Winery in Rowley.  It was a festive get together well attended by returning members, a few new faces, and even a reporter from the Daily News! The evening included a member meet and greet, clubs news, a wine tasting, a tour of the Mill River wine operation, and a large spread of artfully presented appetizers, locally made cheeses, and more.

GMGC Sept 2012 - Mill River - Club MembersGMGC’s outgoing president, Laurie Sheerin, introduced the club’s new President, Karen Ziemlak, and new vice president, Jill Sczepanski.  Karen has been a long time member of the club and has been very active on the Civic Committee. Jill was GMGC’s founding co-president and we are fortunate to have her return to the club’s officer team.

The GMGC Civic Committee presented an overview of the Rowley Town Common Tree Project that the club initiated back in September 2011 with former president, Laurie Sheerin, and civic committee member, Dan Sczepanski, presented to the Rowley’s Community Preservation Committee requestingGMGC Sept 2012 - Mill River - Civic Town Common Committee CPA Funds. The funds were secured in a town vote approving the 80+k plan for the restoration of tree landscape on the Rowley Common perimeter.  Club members Sheila Clark, Dan Sczepanski, David Jacquith, Sara Bourque, and Cliff Pierce have been working to move the project forward in a collaborative effort with the Town of Rowley.  They faciliated the formation of a steering committee made up representation from the Planning Board, Historical Commission, Highway Department, Water Department, and more.  Highlights of the project include the donation of a landscape plan with a value of 5K from local landscape architect, Steve Harrison.  The goal is to have the trees planted and established in time for the Town of Rowley’s upcoming 375th anniversary in 2014.

GMGC Sept 2012 - Mill River Winery - Our HostMill River’s owner, Donna Martin , was our hostess for evening along with Rick Rousseau, Mill River’s wine maker.  Donna addressed the club covering the history of the Mill River Winery building revealing that it was once a cider mill in the mid 1900’s.  Mill River is currently producing handcrafted wines using grapes purchased from Amherst, MA.  They are also growing grapes on their 3+ acre property and hope to introduce homemade ciders next year to the menu.

So “celebrate local” and stop in to visit and support this new charming establishment in Rowley.


GMGC 2012/13 Membership Drive Is On!

June 2, 2012

The time is now to support the Great Marsh Garden Club of Rowley!

Honey by John CardilloPlease consider joining The Great Marsh Garden Club of Rowley whether you are an existing member, former member, new member, or a business sponsor.  Our club is diverse made-up of novice and expert gardeners, hobbyists and horticulture professionals, all age ranges, and many male members yet we all share a passion for gardening, a desire to improve our community, and a respect for our environment.

What does a GMGC Membership Offer:    A robust horticulture program is provided September through June mostlyGMGC Sept Kickoff - Host Doug Morris - Demo meeting the first Tuesday of the month.  The programs range from horticulture lectures, hands-on workshops, field trips, social events, and celebrity speakers.  Radio talk show host Paul Parent was very popular program.  In May we host a plant sale, which is our main fundraiser for the year.  All funds raised are used to supplement the community either through our featured horticultural programs or used to fund civic beautification projects.

Our Civic Beautification Program: We are especially proud of the refurbished Veteran’s Star Rowley Veteran's Star GardenGarden located in the Rowley Town Cemetery.  Additional projects have included planting of Elm Trees behind the Town Hall, Planting the Bandstand on the Town Common and more.  Participation on the various committees such as Civic is a personal choice and is optional.  The one requirement of the club is that everyone participate in some

aspect of our annual plant sale fundraiser.  In June we close out the year with a special summer social soiree at a carefully selected venue perfect for socializing and finding inspiration.  This year’s location will be at a private residence set along the pristine banks of Rowley’s tidal river overlooking our garden club’s namesake, The Great Marsh!

Business and Patron Supporters:  GMGC is a small club with large ideas and energy to serve the Rowley community, therefore, for the first time we will begin seeking out local business and private patron supporters.  We recognize that active club membership may not be for everyone, yet there exists a large body of support within our to help GMGC continue to offer horticulture education programs and sponsor civic beautification projects.   As a small token of our appreciation your support will be noted in our yearbook and here on our Community Support  page of our Web site.

To get started just complete and the GMGC membership form or for more information call Laurie at 978.270.0658 or email

GMGC March – Spring Pruning – How, When, Help!

March 31, 2012

Winter PruningSpring is an excellent time to prune woody plants and repair winter damage.  Dan Bouchard of the Long Hill horticulture staff provided a private live shrub and tree pruning demonstration for our Club on Saturday morning, 03/31 at Long Hill Estate in Beverly. The discussion touched upon tools, timing, and techniques for rejuvenation, health, vigor, and aesthetics. The estate is comprised of 100 beautiful acres of woodlands, 2 miles of walking trails, formal and informal gardens, and the beautifully maintained federalist residence. View the printable Event Flyer.

February Program “Lotions and Potions”

February 7, 2012

Rita Wolmering of The Herb FarmacyRita Wollmering co-owner of the Herb Farmacy hosted GMGC’s February program, “Lotions and Potions”.  Back for her 3rd workshop in 3 years…Year 1 the Joy of Herbs,  Year 2 Herbal Gifts for the home, and Year 3 Lotions and Potions using medicinal herbs certainly lived up to our  expectations.  There is something truly special about learning and creating organic products from scratch. In this workshop we made medicinal herbal lip balm, body cream, and a muscle sore rub.  Before beginning the workshop Rita spent time explaining each ingredient giving us a full understanding of the high quality and benefits offered by use of the products. She used a scale to help us gage the quality of ingredients, 1 low to 10 high.  A couple of examples include,

  • low paraffin -> high beeswax
  • low olive oil -> high coconut oil, avocado oil (heavy), shea butter
  • high carrier oils include apricot kernel and sweet almond.
Shea Butter is pressed from the nut of the Karite tree of Ghana in Africa.  Sweet Almond Oil is made from the almond nut using a whole pressed refinement process mostly from Pakistan.  Apricot Kernel Oil is made from the bark of branches of trees from Africa. All edible, but very expensive.
The workshop focused on 3 key medicinal herbs:  1) St. John’s Wort  2) Arnica  3) Calendula
St. John’s Wort is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. A fast spreading perennial that seeds rapidly, however, it can be contained by harvesting all flowers before they go to seed.  Arnica is a key ingredient in many homeopathic creams for sore muscles, burns, and bruises. Arnica is a perennial with beautiful yellow flowers. Calendula “pot marigold” is an annual that is edible and will grow past the first frost. It is known to sooth the digestive system, clears infections, is said to support the heart, and is very beneficial for skin care.
  • Heat knife over stove before cutting beeswax
  • Clean all utensils, blender, measuring cups with paper towels first before proceeding with soap and water

Resources for purchasing ingredients:

Copies of the recipes are available on request:  1) Gardener’s Hand Cream made from Calendula infused oil.  2) Gardener’s Muscle Balm made from St.John’s Wort and Arnica.  3) Lip Balm made from Calendula, almond oil and beeswax. It’s hard to select one, but the sweet orange lip balm was my favorite!

The Herb Farmacy products are only sold through local farmer markets so keep your eyes open.  They regularly have a stand at the Newburyport Farmer’s Market on Sundays.  Rita will be making another generous donation to the GMGC Plant Sale again this year…hopefully we will offer some of the  medicinal herbs at our sale that we used in this workshop such as the Calendula, Arnica and St.John’s Wort.

The Real Dirt About Dirt!

January 10, 2012

Real Dirt About DirtAndi Ross, GMGC member & owner of It’s Natures Way, hosted the first program of 2012, “The Real Dirt About Dirt”. Andi’s program touched upon a myriad of topics including the virtues of compost, compost tea, lasagna composting and vermaculture.  As we were about to start many club members hurried into the room. Andi surprised everyone with a short warm up visualization exercise to help everyone transition into the moment leaving behind their top of mind activities of the day.  Then she moved into her colorful slide lecture where we were treated to many beautiful garden photographs amongst the more scientific slides depicting the life cycle of composting and more. Sprinkled between slides were many amusing images of Andi’s pet cats indulging in the wonders of the landscapes.  Did I mention Andi brought to class her compost stacking crates of red worms for demonstration purposes?!

Andi did a great job with the presentation.  Over the next couple of days following Andi’s presentation, I received many accolades on behalf of Andi.  A more meaningul testimonial may be the impression that she left on club members.  A couple of messages of note included one regarding a member’s plans of adopting some red worms “pets” for composting.  And, another member is now in the market for a compost tea contraption that measured the temperature of the brewing tea mixture to signal optimal readiness!

To quote Andi in closing, “It’s all about the soil!”

GMGC October – Seasonal Tablescaping

October 4, 2011

Tablescaping Ideas

Gordon’s Florist and Greenhouse of Essex hosted GMGC members for a lecture and workshop on “Seasonal Tablescaping”.  The club arrived once Gordon’s closed its door to the public and we were greeted by Cindy Gordon and Jenny Patterson, Gordon’s Floral Designer.  The store front set-up with festive themed tables, which were the focal point of the tablescaping lecture.   Jenny shared ideas for decorating tables for all types of events – large and small, formal and informal, sit down and buffet! She conveyed that the current trend is moving away from traditional center pieces in lieu of designing the table itself to capture the essence of the holiday or event. Placement, height, containers, color schemes, napkins, candles, flowers, materials, and so many more creative elements were discussed!

Fall TopiaryFollowing the discussion we all moved to the floral design work tables out back where we each made a floral topiary with live flowers to bring home.  Simple and quick yet stunning and beautiful.  The topiary was created by arranging 5 stems of flowers creating bunch with the petals fanning outward. We cut the stems to the desired height before inserting them into a pre-soaked piece of floral foam set into a pot with a plastic liner and bottom hole plugged. After inserting the flowers we covered the top of the floral foam with moss and a few flowers stuck directly into the top of the floral foam for decoration.  A ribbon was tied at the top of the flower stems securing the 5 floral stems in place. Autumn colored Alstroemeria also known as Peruvian Lily was used for our topiary. Alstroemeria is a very popular and long lasting flower, often bi-coloured, cheap and easy to locate.  Other flower options include sunflowers, stock, lilies, and any other flower having long and strong stems with flower petals that fan outward!

This was GMGC’s second workshop with Gordon’s, which met all expectations even after the very popular Ikebana floral arranging workshop! Be sure to visit Gordon’s for your holiday floral needs and take some time to browse the great selection of seasonal gifts.


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