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March 03. 2013 9:59PM

UNH master gardener to share tips in Londonderry


Master gardener and Cornish Flats resident Henry Homeyer will offer gardening tips to residents during a free program at Londonderry Leach Library on March 21. (COURTESY)
LONDONDERRY -- AS A YOUNG BOY, Henry Homeyer would count down the days to those precious four weeks each summer when he would visit his grandfather's organic farm in Massachusetts.

"My grandpa was a pretty serious gardener," the Cornish Flats resident recalled. "I think it was fun because he understood that kids don't really like to pull weeds all day. I got to get my hands dirty and learned a lot while I was there."

Decades later, those early lessons left permanent impressions on Homeyer, a UNH master gardener whose weekly gardening column now appears in a dozen New England newspapers.

Homeyer will share his knowledge at Londonderry Leach Library later this month as part of the free program, "Growing Great Flowers in New Hampshire: Old Favorites and Lesser Known Beauties."

A regular contributor to Vermont Public Radio, Homeyer has taught sustainable gardening at Granite State College and also posts regular blogs on his website, www.gardening-guy.com.

During the March 21 program, Homeyer will discuss which varieties of flowers grow best in New Hampshire and what each needs to succeed.

He will share tips and tricks and explain how one can grow such exotic species as showy lady slipper orchids and Himalayan blue poppies - or just have better luck with the standard roses, peonies and bee balms.

"Many times people get discouraged when they buy a nice plant and in a few years it's gone," Homeyer said.

And while many New Hampshire residents are tempted to try to grow the endangered pink lady slipper orchids in their home gardens, Homeyer recommends they instead try their luck with some of the orchid's colorful cousins.

"Many other lady slipper varieties can be purchased, and they're wonderful additions to a home garden," he said.

Homeyer's presentation will emphasize the importance of gardening without chemicals, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask him questions. Growing vegetables and edible flowers is something that can be done year-round, he said.

"Organic gardening is really about stepping back and letting Mother Nature take control," Homeyer said. "I don't spray my garden for insects because in doing so, you're killing some of the beneficial bugs too. Remember, you're born with the best insecticide of all - your two fingers to pick the Japanese beetles off your flower bed."

Homeyer's presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. on March 21, is free and open to the public. The program will take place in the library's lower-level meeting room and light refreshments will be served.

aguilmet@newstote.com

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