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CGC March Newsletter
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Chatham Garden Club  |

March 2022

What’s Happening in March  

CGC Garden of the Month:

7 of 9 gardens

The Gardens at Oyster Pond By Beth Taylor

With all of the current interest in promoting native plants in our gardens, club members may be surprised to learn that the gardens at Oyster Pond were designed to do that fifteen years ago.  

Three sections make up the Oyster Pond gardens:

  1. Veterans Memorial Garden
  2. Demonstration Garden
  3. Arthur Allison Memorial Garden

In 2005 the parking lot at the Oyster Pond was reconfigured, adding parking spaces and improving the storm drainage system.  A “xeriscape” demonstration garden that had been maintained by the Friends of Chatham Waterways and a smaller Veterans Memorial Garden were removed and stored for more than two years.  In 2007 two members of the Chatham Garden Club, Anne O’Brien and Barbara Cotnam, joined forces with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the First Night Committee, the Friends of Trees and the Sunset Terrace Association to design and plant gardens there.

The VFW’s memorial to Korean and Vietnam veterans is a focal point in the park.  The intent was to create an area of quiet and reflection with seating out of the wind.  In addition, the space was expanded to allow larger gatherings and made handicap-accessible. The First Night Committee was responsible for the increase in size by sponsoring a project of remembrance through inscribed bricks.  Seven shrubs of the native Arrowwood Viburnum V. dentatum were planted--one for each of the following veterans: David A. Carpenter, Jr.; Julia Howes; Martha Whelan; Sean St. Pierre; Lawrence W. Williams; John M. Hartwell; and David Lawrence Yindra.  Their plaques are placed on the outside of the paved memorial.   In addition, several varieties of roses were planted at the entrance to the park. Each Spring the VFW donates the geraniums which provide a pop of color by the flagpole. This past Fall CGC volunteers planted over 100 daffodil bulbs around the outside of the garden which will be a welcome sight in a few months.

The design of the Demonstration Garden was intended to show the public what could be done in an environment with minimal fertilizing and watering, yet still provide pollinators with resources throughout the growing season.  The Oyster Pond ecosystem is a difficult one for most plants; plants must tolerate salt, wind, sandy soils, lower pH and drought.  Once plants are established, they are “on their own.”  This garden has been a fifteen-year experiment in plant survival in such a harsh environment.  Of the original design the following plants have thrived:

North American natives or cultivars of natives:


The third garden is on the corner of Pond St. and Stage Harbor Rd.  Originally designed with daylilies and daffodils, it gained significance when the memorial to Arthur Allison, who died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, was moved from the Cross St. triangle to this area.  Liz Scheld motivated a major clean-up of this area a few years back, removing invasive grasses and adding daylilies and sedum—once again honoring this young man’s sacrifice.

The gardens at the Oyster Pond have been maintained by Chatham Garden Club volunteers for the past fifteen years.  We feel fortunate to be able to work in such a beautiful location and welcome all members who wish to join us.

February Speaker of the Month:
Irwin Ehrenreich, The Rose Man

On  a cold February 15th, many members gathered to hear The Rose Man speak on oh-so-many varieties of roses. His presentation included remarkable rose gardens of his home and his clients’ - all beautifully photographed by his wife Cindy. Irwin’s whimsical design style was a charming addition to his renowned reputation for growing roses, all showcased in his presentation “Rose Gardens of Cape Cod.”


We ask ALL members to donate plants to support our fund-raising sale. 

Please start saving your pots!  If you are interested in being involved in the planning,

Please email Donna at or Marilyn at

Xeriscaping in Chatham

By Donna Maiocca

Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping and gardening with water conservation in mind.

My first encounter with Xeriscaping was when I was babysitting my four grandchildren in San Diego. I would take the baby out for daily walks in his stroller and I kept noticing every neighbor's gardens were not what I used to see.

Most homeowners had installed sand and gravel, mulch or artificial turf. It was a nice change but, I was glad when I came home to my real grass, perennials, evergreens and annuals!

But as we are all aware Chatham is now concerned with water conservation too. Although I don’t foresee sand and gravel gardens here in the near future, there is a trend toward drought tolerant plants, and reducing the size of our lawns.

Locally, I found gardens people have created that are more drought tolerant and still colorful!

If you have been to Boulder Colorado, you may have visited their Demonstration Garden.  Many gardens in Colorado feature xeriscaping. The term “xeriscaping” was first coined in the 80’s by the Denver Water Board as a way of educating its citizens during droughts.

Suggestions to conserve water:

Rain Barrels:  Several years ago, Kristin Andres from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod spoke to the CGC on preserving the Cape’s natural reserves. Among her interesting topics on native plants, conserving water, she shared that APCC was selling rain barrels.  I bought one and love it. I connected one to my gutter downspouts and am planning on purchasing another one! My neighbor even purchased one. Rain barrels are $99.00 including free shipping and your purchase helps support the APCC and its efforts.

Plant drought-tolerant perennials: Here are some native perennials in my own gardens that you may also consider for the spring:  These plants become more drought-tolerant once they are established.

Sedum (Stonecrop)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Yarrow  (
Achillea millefolium)

Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

For a more information:

The Role of the Native Host Plants for Wildlife and Pollinators
By Liz Scheld

Gardeners know the importance of native plants in terms of their resilience, low-maintenance, and value in supporting wildlife and pollinators. Douglas W. Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home, How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants has inspired gardeners to rework their gardens. We design with clumps of natives and practice more eco-friendly habits. We choose a variety of pollinator plants with a span of bloom-times from spring through fall. Nectar Plants attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and provide these pollinators energy with the nectar. Pollen is larval food for bees. And while they and the other pollinators travel from plant to plant, they transfer pollen - and they pollinate our plants!

For gardeners, it’s also important to delve into the critical role of the Host Plant. Butterflies and moths lay eggs on particular leaves; when the eggs become larvae (caterpillars), they eat the leaves of this Host plant. Yet, pollinators can be very specific in what plant they will eat. Tallamy, an entomologist, describes the Tent caterpillars, defoliating a (native) cherry tree while ignoring the nearby leaves of the (non-native) Japanese honeysuckle. Natives in our gardens support wildlife. The Monarch butterfly is known for being particular in its Larval Host plant, laying eggs and feeding exclusively on milkweed leaves, albeit different types of milkweeds. Luckily, other pollinators show more flexibility in their Host plants. In addition, aim to choose Native plants, trees, and shrubs, which support a variety of pollinators; a sample of power pollinator plants include white oak, sassafras, shadbush, swamp milkweed, big bluestem, evening primrose, and baptisia.  Be sure to give attention to the scientific name which will guide you to accurate matches. In short, choose plants not just for the nectar, but for the key role the host plant plays for laying eggs and feeding caterpillars.

For efficient & fun planning, click the websites below. As you garden, remember that a leaf with holes is apt to indicate a healthy landscape. Continue the natural-look yard by leaving leaf litter on parts of the ground for sweat bees and digger bees to over-winter. Leave stems on your perennials for insects to lay eggs. Your yard will become an attraction for wildlife and pollinators, while you become a steward for the environment.

For a more information:

The Annual Soup and Bread Social planned for the March 15th meeting has been canceled. 

Therefore, we have included soup recipes from three of our members for you to prepare at home:

Gardener’s Zucchini Soup By Liz Scheld


  1. Scrub 6 pounds of zucchini and slice thin.
  2. Slice 3 large onions and chop 3 green peppers.
  3. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a pot, then add zucchini, onions, and green peppers.
  4. Add ½ cup chicken stock.
  5. Add 3 cloves of diced garlic, 2 ½ teaspoons salt & ½ teaspoon pepper.
  6. Cook until tender. Remove from heat.
  7. Blend in 1 cup fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons dried basil, & ½ teaspoon dried tarragon.
  8. Store in pint containers; soup freezes well.

Serve cold with sour cream or hot.

Optional to each pint add:

Sausage, Spinach & Tortellini Soup By Pat O’Reilly


  1. In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking apart the sausage as it cooks. Drain excess grease (optional).
  2. Add the finely chopped onion & garlic.
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour in the broth and tomatoes, stir & bring to a simmer.
  5. Stir in the tortellini & cook all for 3-4 minutes (if using frozen tortellini, follow cooking instructions on package rather than the 3-4 minutes for fresh tortellini).
  6. Just before serving, stir in the baby spinach and cook all until spinach is gently wilted.  
  7. Season to taste with salt, pepper & crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Texas Chowder By Linda Halvorsen


  1. Using a large stock pot, sauté onion & peppers in the butter until tender.  
  2. Add the potato soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock base, sausage, corn, red pepper & cheese.
  3. Mix well, simmer until the cheese is melted, stirring frequently.