Program Schedule

Meetings are typically held the first Monday of the month.  In the event of a public holiday the meetings are moved to the next Monday.  Meetings are held at The Woodland,  60 Woodland Ave, Maplewood, NJ,  at 7:30 p.m.  All meetings are free and open to the public.    

September 2023

Monday, September 11, at 7:30 PM

Subject: Garden for Wildlife – Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife
Speaker: David Mizejewski

Naturalist David Mizejewski shares how to create a beautiful garden or landscape that fits into the local ecosystem and supports birds, butterflies, bees, and a whole host of other wonderful wildlife neighbors.  David will discuss native plants, the four components of habitat, and sustainable gardening. He’ll also share how you can achieve the National Wildlife Federation’s “Certified Wildlife Habitat” recognition for your garden space.

David holds a degree in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University and is an expert on wildlife and our environment. He is a naturalist and television host with the National Wildlife Federation and regularly appears in the media to promote wildlife conservation. David is the author of the gardening how-to book Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife.

October 2023

Monday, October 2, at 7:30 PM

Subject: Seeing Seeds: A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit
Speaker: Teri Dunn Chace

Based on her Timber Press title of the same name, Teri Dunn Chace’s presentation will explain how “every seed tells a story.”  Though small and often not noticed or examined carefully, seeds are simply amazing—what they look like, what they do, how they do it, as they work towards their goal of self-replication. The strangeness and fascination in the seeds of plants as familiar as oaks and dandelions, and as curious as figs and hellebores, will be revealed using the gorgeous image-stacked photographs of Robert Llewellyn.

Teri is a graduate of Bard College and the author of over 35 books, including Seeing Seeds which was the American Horticultural Society Book of the Year in 2016.

November 2023

Monday, November 6, at 7:30 PM

Subject: Herbs from Around the World
Speaker: Patrick McDuffee

Well-Sweep Herb Farm in Port Murray, New Jersey, is home to one of the largest collections of potted herbs in the world, along with a collection of their unique cultural stories and uses.  Patrick McDuffee, the third generation of the Well-Sweep family, will share with us the scents and flavors from East Asia, the Mediterranean, South America, and beyond.  He will tell us how to successfully grow these plants on a windowsill, on a patio or in a garden.  Tips and tricks from growing to harvesting, some culinary and medicinal tidbits, as well as herbal lore will also be shared.

At Well-Sweep, Patrick studied under his grandfather, renowned lecturer Cyrus Hyde. Patrick earned a B.S. in Biology from James Madison University, giving him a deep scientific understanding of the ethnobotanical stories passed down to him.   His passion for medicinal and exotic culinary herbs has continued to expand his knowledge.

Well Sweep website

December 2023

Monday, December 4, at 7:30 PM

Subject:  Seasonal Floral Sculptures
Speaker:  Valerie Rojas Braverman

Local shop owner Valerie Braverman of Brave Floral will create winter floral arrangements and discuss different techniques and floral design principles. Valerie’s work evokes the feeling of freshly gathered florals balanced with modern and classical design forms. 

She is a second-career florist.  Brave Floral is an independent flower shop and creative studio crafting seasonally-considered, neo-traditional botanical designs for all occasions.

Brave Floral website

January 2024

Monday, January 8, at 7:30 PM

Subject:  New Jersey Wine Country: Past, Present and Future
Speaker: Devon Segel Perry

Explore New Jersey Wine Country with the Garden State Wine Growers Association, representing all wineries and vineyards in the state.   Along with information about local wineries and vineyards, you’ll learn why New Jersey is quickly establishing itself as one of the premier wine regions of the Mid-Atlantic.  In addition to explaining the viticultural assets of New Jersey, Devon will share tips for purchasing local wines and supporting local wineries.

As Executive Director of the Association, Devon Segel Perry handles education, public relations, marketing, government affairs and more.  Devon founded Segel Associates, a boutique interactive media firm. She’s a former executive director of Visit South Jersey and CEO of WineLovers LLC, among other roles.

February 2024

Monday, February 5, at 7:30 PM

Subject:  Bloodroot, Bluebells, and Butterflies: Spring Beauties for Biodiversity
Speaker: Deb Ellis

When we garden, we can support biodiversity through the plants we choose.  In this workshop, you will learn how to grow our charming spring wildflowers and how they sustain native bees and butterflies early in the season.  Since many of these flowers are shade lovers, they grow well under deciduous trees. You will learn about spring ephemerals, like Virginia Bluebells and Dutchman’s Britches, as well as spring flowers that become groundcovers, such as Golden Ragwort and Wild Bleeding Heart.

Deb Ellis is the founder and leader of the Essex Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, Master Gardener and Rutgers Environmental Steward. Deb is passionate about teaching how to use native plants to promote biodiversity and heal the Earth.

March 2024

Monday, March 4, at 7:30 PM

Subject:  Replacing the Green Desert: Native Plant Alternatives to Turf
Speaker: Kim Eierman

The great American love affair with the Green Desert (aka lawn) has a long tradition with a very high ecological cost. Exotic grass lawns are virtual wastelands in our local ecosystems, providing little to our native species, while demanding tremendous amounts of water, labor, and fertilizer.  Kim Eierman explains how to turn a lifeless lawn into a thriving ecological system filled with native plant alternatives.

Kim is the founder of EcoBeneficial LLC.  Based in New York, she is an environmental horticulturist and ecological landscape designer specializing in native plants.  Kim Eierman created EcoBeneficial LLC to show how simple changes in our landscapes can make huge environmental improvements. Through horticultural consulting, ecological design with native plants, teaching, speaking and writing, Kim and EcoBeneficial want to change our world.  She is the author of the book The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening.

April 2024

Monday, April 1, at 7:30 PM

Subject:  Saving Water for Your Garden & Home

Speaker: Amy Rowe

Learn about how using water wisely in your home, garden, and yard can ensure that we have clean, fresh water for generations to come.  Water conservation can save you money and can protect this limited natural resource. 

Dr. Amy Rowe is the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Natural Resources Agent for Essex and Passaic Counties. She has worked in the environmental field for more than 15 years.  Her background is in water chemistry with a concentration on the fate and transport of contaminants.  Amy’s outreach programming has focused on water quality, green infrastructure in urban environments, and food waste reduction.

May 2024

Monday, May 6, at 7:30 PM

Subject:   87th Annual Plant Sale
Speakers: Plant Sale Committee Members

Get some behind-the-scenes glimpses of New Jersey’s “Big Momma of Plant Sales” and learn what makes the sale so popular and so much fun.  We’ll also preview some of the many (many!) perennials, annuals, herbs and other special and unique plants that draw shoppers from all over the region and beyond.