The North Central Massachusetts gardening group the Gardeners Exchange has an action-packed calendar of presentations, garden tours and events lined up for this year.
The first Gardeners Exchange presentation of the new year, to take place at the Lunenburg Library on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, is "Native Plants: Right Plant, Right Place," with author and garden designer Ellen Souza of Turkey Hill Brook Farm.
Souza will discuss plants that are most suitable for the various conditions in your yard, whether dry, seasonally moist, wet, sunny, shady or windy.
She is a garden designer who has been helping Massachusetts homeowners create and nurture earth-friendly landscapes since 2007. She teaches natural gardening across New England and is the author of a 2011 book, "The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planning, Planting & Maintaining the Eco-friendly Habitat Garden."
On Saturday, March 15, there will be a members-only winter tour of Tower Hill Botanic Garden led by Tower Hill Horticulture Director Joann Vieira.
On Saturday, April 12, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley, Peter George, president of the North American Rock Garden Society, will present a program on rock gardens entitled "Evolution of My Garden, Or, How My Garden Proves that There is No Such Thing as Intelligent Design."
George will use slides and commentary to, in his words, "describe the process of how a middle-aged man living in a rural town with a perfectly flat plot of land learned the pleasure of gardening with small plants and rocks."
Besides being the president of NARGS, an organization with more than 2,600 members in 38 countries, George belongs to its Berkshire Chapter. In his "spare time," he serves as a Petersham selectman, is managing partner of Healthcare Litigation Support, and raises (18 tanks of) tropical fish.
The Gardeners Exchange is a community garden club with members from various towns around North Central Massachusetts. It meets monthly on weekends between February and October to visit each other's gardens, take field trips to other gardens and nurseries, participate in workshops, and gain expertise on a wide variety of horticultural topics.
The garden club acquired its name from its members' exchanges of ideas, as well as plants. After its April and October meetings, members receive their spring and fall dividends, plants that are paid for through members' dues. Plant swaps are in February, June and September.
Other upcoming programs include the May 17 spring garden tours of two Shirley members; a June 14 visit to an Italianate garden in Littleton with local author John Hanson Mitchell; a July 19 Shirley garden tour and cookout; a July 27 visit to the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls; an Aug. 16 tour of Hillside School Farm and Garden in Marlborough, with trips to area nurseries; a fall workshop TBA; and the Oct. 19 end-of-season potluck dinner.
First-time attendees to most meetings are not required to join, but membership is encouraged. Annual membership dues are $20 per individual or $30 per couple. Membership benefits include all events, spring and fall perennials, and discounts at many area nurseries and garden centers.
For information, visit gardeners-exchange.org or contact Dina Samfield, 978-448-9311.