Suggestions for New Hampshire gardening

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by cao330, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. cao330

    cao330 Member

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    Hello,
    I am a new member and new to gardening. I moved to central New Hampshire from the South. I would love any suggestions, tips, ideas and/or tricks for this area. I know the season here is almost over but would like to plan for next year (or anything for right now). Thank you so much in advance.
     
  2. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Now through mid-September or so is a good time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials in this part of the world. You can usually find bargains at the local garden center, and the plants will still have time to settle in, soak up some autumn sunlight, grow new roots and harden off for winter. You'll even have something to look at this year and you can start to form a mental picture of how the garden will develop.

    One obvious principle is to pay attention to what everyone around you is growing. You don't have to confine yourself just to run-of-the-mill plants, but this will give you an idea of what sort of thing succeeds easily in your area, and you'll start to train your eye -- because northern New England is a totally different landscape than the South.

    Finding a good local nursery or garden center is also a great thing. New Englanders can be quite passionate about gardening, and most places have cool little mom-and-pop nurseries tucked here and there -- often run by people who quit some other profession because they love plants.

    Winter is long, and one way to pass the time is poring over garden catalogs. A personal recommendation is the ForestFarm catalog (which is free via the web site), an educational resource in its own right as well as a great source of trees and shrubs. They are conservative in their hardiness ratings, so if they say a plant is hardy in zone 5, it almost certainly will prove to be so.

    There are also many, many good books to read. It sort of bugged me when I lived in Virginia that so many American garden books seemed to have a New England bias -- as though all gardening worth thinking about occurs in Connecticut or Westchester County, New York. Now I appreciate the genius of this arrangement, because most stuff that grows in Connecticut does okay a little farther north as well.

    Once you start to acclimate, you'll find that this is a great region for gardening. Many things grow beautifully here that would wither and die in the South. Even the shorter growing season has its advantages, because it's possible to have a garden where something is blooming all the time -- you don't have that dead stretch in late summer where the whole landscape looks exhausted and it's too hot to spend much time outside anyway.
     
  3. cao330

    cao330 Member

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    Thank you so much for your response. I will definitely go to Forest Farm and check them out. I have some plants already in the yard thanks to the previous owners. I have an old white lilac tree, daffodils (not that many blooms at all), tulips (also had few blooms), a forsythia bush (growing wild), a few wild roses (huge but not alot of flowers), lilies, an old maple tree, one oversized hosta area, and 2 mysterious plants (or at least to me). If you have any plant ideas for a beginner that are hardy but easy I will gladly try them. I have all light requirements available. I was trying to post my mysterious plants under an identification thread but I cannot upload pictures for some reason. They prefer attached images. Here is the link if you do not mind taking a look. Again thank you so much.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhcurtisfamily/
    All images are of the same plant. I have 2 of them about 2 1/2 feet apart from each other
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  5. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    As a first step, if you haven't already done so, you need to figure out what USDA climate zone you're in. You can do that by typing your zip code in here: http://www.garden.org/zipzone/

    It's probably safe to say that most of the staples of modern perennial gardening would succeed for you, and should be easily obtainable locally or via mail-order suppliers. Among the northern-sun-lovers: echinacea, rudbeckia, coreopsis, phlox, aster, nepeta, monarda, perovskia, digitalis, campanula, liatris. In shade you'll do well with hostas and astilbes and ferns and many other things, including native wildflowers if your tastes run to more subtle displays. (Be sure to get these from a supplier who propagates in the nursery, as opposed to harvesting in the wild.)

    If you're a rose-lover, you need to exercise caution. The whole hybrid tea tribe -- comprising the bulk of roses now in widespread commerce, I'd say -- is likely to bring you nothing but heartache. Some of the luscious new English roses do well here while others do not. Older (i.e. pre-1900) shrubs and species like rugosas and mosses do well. But then so do many newer varieties -- you just have to be careful and rely upon well-informed guidance.

    There are suppliers who specialize in northern-hardy plants, including roses, and you can probably find many of these with some quick web-hunting. With perennials this isn't so important -- one Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' is probably as tough as any other -- but with woody plants there can be some variation in needs and tolerance between plants of the same species that originate in the northern versus southern extremes of their natural range. (I've had trouble, for example, growing native white oak from acorns gathered in Virginia, even though Maine is part of that tree's range. I surmise that the southern cousins want more heat and sun than I can give them.)

    One thing to do right now is take careful note of where the sun falls on your property, where the soil remains moist or dries quickly after a rain, what kind of little wild things pop up in out-of-the-way places, and that kind of thing. Sun especially is worth noting because this changes rather drastically from summer to winter -- more so than in the South because of the higher latitude.
     

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