Tuesday, May 25, 2021

2021 IGC Annual Meeting

 Let's all get together at the Ipswich Meeting House to review the year and look forward.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

IGC March '21 Meeting "Hydrangeas 360"

 This meeting will be remote held on Zoom. Zoom link to be emailed in March.
 Visit Jen Kettell's website "Radiant Leaf at https://radiantleaf.com

Sunday, January 10, 2021

IGC January Meeting: ZOOM "Conservation in Essex County" with Kate Bowditch, President of ECGA


See what the Essex County Greenbelt does: https://ecga.org

Here is your Zoom Link:
Topic: Conservation in Essex County with Kate Bowditch and the Ipswich Garden Club
Time: Jan 12, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 835 7590 8586
Passcode: 168402
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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Changed Times for Decorating the Butterfly Meadow Holiday Trees

 Due to weather ... Please help us decorate the holiday trees at the Butterfly Meadow on NEW DATES  Monday and Tuesday. Let Paula know if you can help.

Monday, October 5, 2020



By Catherine Carney Feldman

As a home owner or gardener you might have asked yourself the question, “What can I do to support our declining local wildlife populations?” Besides providing the right native plants and protecting your garden by not using pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, one of the most valuable things you can do to support pollinators, butterflies, beneficial insects and small vertebrates is to provide winter cover in the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material.

The act of cleaning the garden in the fall may be an annual habit, a matter of social and cultural conditioning, or a holdover of outdated gardening practices from yesteryear.  However, when we rake, mow and blow away every bit of nature that is essential to the survival of moths, butterflies, spiders, and dozens of beneficial arthropods.  The only plants and plant materials I now remove from the garden in the fall are diseased. I leave EVERYTHING ELSE! Your gardens do not look immaculate. However, in nature nothing is immaculate or perfect.  By the action of not cleaning our gardens, we are emulating Mother Nature – and she is the best of teachers! 

So what is the environmental case for leaving your gardens untouched in the fall?  While monarch migration is a well- known phenomenon, it’s not the norm. The vast majority of butterflies and moths overwinter in the landscape in different stages either as eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, or adults.  These insects, no matter in what stage they hibernate, use leaf litter for winter cover.  Great spangled fritillary, Luna Moths, Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies and wooly bear caterpillars tuck themselves into a pile of leaves for protection from cold weather and predators.  Luna moths and swallowtail butterflies disguise their cocoons and chrysalis as dried leaves, blending in with the real leaves.  These are but a few of countless examples. 

Our native bees including bumble bees also rely on leaf litter for winter protection. At the end of summer queen bumble bees burrow only an inch or two into the earth to hibernate for winter. An extra thick layer of leaves is welcome protection from the elements. Other animals that hibernate in or under leaves include spiders, snails, salamanders, frogs, worms, beetles, millipedes, and mites.  Next spring they will support the chipmunks, turtles, birds and amphibians that rely on these insects for food.  The fact is leaves are essential in sustaining the natural web of life.  And, those dried hollow stalks from your raspberries, elderberries, Joe Pye weed, hydrangea and summer flowers are also a refuge for eggs of many native bee species, butterflies, moths and other beneficial insects. Remember, by leaving the dried flower heads on both your annuals and perennials, you are providing protein rich seeds that are valuable food for our native birds that will spend the winter here. 

When it comes to lawns opt for raking or using a leaf vacuum to capture whole leaves.  Shredded leaves will not provide the same cover as leaves that are whole, and you may be destroying eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and other beneficial insects along with the leaves. Instead collect your leaves and create a leaf pile in the corner of your yard where you can allow them to break down naturally. If you have a compost pile you can add leaves to it.  Such efforts will keep insects and other species safe and allow you to benefit from the rich garden gift that falls from the trees above.  

In your flower gardens leaves provide many benefits. To mimic the natural ecosystem a layer of leaves needs to be at least two inches thick.  Leaves will decompose naturally and as they do they provide valuable organic matter and build up healthy soil. They feed not only earth worms but the many forms of micro-organisms that live in the soil. Fallen leaves have the same weed suppression and moisture retention properties of shredded wood mulch – and they are free!  A thick layer of leaves provides additional insulation against bitter cold weather and can protect newly planted perennials from  frost-heave .  Because of last year’s leaves, I now have my mulch, water retention, weed suppression and compost all set in my gardens for the upcoming growing season! 

The bottom line: You have provided your insects with native flowers, bushes and trees for food, fuel, shelter and a place to nest. You avoided using pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. Don’t carry all of that hard work out to the curb or land fill. Simply put, when we treat leaves and old plant debris like trash, we are tossing out the beautiful moths, butterflies, pollinators and insects that we’ll surely miss and worked so hard to attract.  If you still decide you need to clean up the garden and remove the leaves in the spring, make sure you wait until late in the spring season, around mid-May, until hibernating insects have had a chance to emerge so as not to destroy all the life you’ve so worked to protect!  Or, you can, choose like me to “leave the leaves”!  

Catherine Carney-Feldman is a member of the Ipswich Conservation Commission, a Senior Principle Master Gardner, owner of Shamrock Acres Environmental Landscape and Design, and as a volunteer oversees and maintains the nature gardens at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. You can reach her at: carneyfeldman@yahoo.com 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

IGC October Meeting: "Floral Arrangements with Natural Materials" Tuesday, October 6th

Due to COVID, please bring your own hot or cold beverage in a reusable bottle. Thank you.


Friday, September 25, 2020

IGC FLOWER BULB FUNDRAISER... PICK UP October 13 from 4p.m.to 6p.m.


Thank you for your support of the Ipswich Garden Club Flower Bulb Fundraiser. The bulbs you purchased will be available for pickup on October 13 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the Ipswich Museum, 54 South Main Street, Ipswich. 

There will be a tent, so pickup will be rain or shine

Thank you again for your support. All proceeds will help the Club support its mission of conservation, horticultural education and town beautification. 

If you have questions, please email us.

Thank you,

Kristin Ostberg and Theresa Doucette

Sunday, September 6, 2020

IGC September Garden Chores

Here's a terrific newsletter item from Margaret Roach on September garden chores. Hope you find it worthwhile. You may even want to sign up for the weekly newsletter. The link is below.

Click HERE for Sept. Chores  

Margaret has been writing about gardening for 25+ years, but before she committed full-time to her 2.3-acre garden, which borders the Berkshires of Massachusetts, she was the garden editor at Newsday newspaper and then the first garden editor of for Martha Stewart Living. She eventually became the head of the Internet-Direct Commerce division, managing the birth of marthastewart.com, and after that editorial director of MSL’s magazines, books and Internet. But she felt unfulfilled and on the last day of 2007, she “walked away from [this] career and ‘success’ to explore personal creativity again.” She moved upstate in an effort to “lead a more authentic life by connecting with her garden and nature.”

She has authored three books, A Way to Garden (1998), And I Shall Have Some Peace There (2011) and The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening, and Life (2013), currently writes on her blog where you can get everything from sage gardening advice to wonderful garden recipes, and has a weekly podcast, A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach. Margaret is clear on the fact that gardening is not her hobby, but her “spiritual practice and life partner.” She also opens her garden for tours as part of the national Garden Conservancy Open Days and for various other events