Plants and Things, Spring 2023 Edition

The transition from spring into summer is one of my favorite times in New Hampshire. (See also: summer into fall, fall into winter, but not winter into spring.) Every year about April, my motivation goes through the roof, and I start itching to get outside and help everything get beautiful.

As today marks the unofficial start of summer (Memorial Day, wooo, boats and beers!), I want to record a few of my spring projects that I’m excited about.

New Garden

I woke up one morning and looked out the window at the sunniest spot on my property, which doesn’t have too many sunny spots. It also happens to be the place that I see the most from my windows, porch, etc. At that moment, its fate was sealed — it was going to be a garden. As I’m not the most patient human, I decided that it would need to be a garden instantly. (If I were patient enough to have a gardening YouTube channel, it would be called “The Impatient Gardener.”)

So I decided to try the sheet mulching technique that’s all the rage, and that promises to provide an insta-garden where once there was grass:

A Very Late Freeze

Northern New England, or at least my part of it, saw a very, very late freeze this spring. It must have been about May 15th, and it was down in the 20s all night. Sadly, many plants had already gotten far enough along in their growth to see some serious damage, including my beautiful Japanese maples.

Apparently, not many people have seen this late a hard freeze, so just recording the state of these little trees for posterity:

New Wood Storage

In addition to new siding on the house (and shed, natch), I now have a wood storage shed that will make my life significantly easier in the winter. Goodbye, tarps and pallets, hello wood bin!

A note: I purchased this pre-built shed from a place in Vermont called Jamaica Cottages. I believe this used to be an awesome small business, but it was purchased a couple of years ago by someone who clearly has nothing but the bottom line in mind. While the quality and price still seem to be great, I didn’t have a great experience dealing with the company, and wouldn’t recommend buying a shed from them. The guy who delivered the shed was awesome though!

Native Plant Walk at Distant Hill

There’s an absolute treasure of a place about 20 minutes from my house called Distant Hill Gardens & Trail. It’s owned by a couple who purchased the property in 1979 and has put in immense amounts of love and work for 45 years to create unique gardens and trails that showcase the native plants of our area. The trails are almost all wide/gravel, and are accessible to wheelchairs, strollers, and the less sure-footed. It makes me so happy to see the variety of people able to access the forest.

One of the owners periodically does native plant walks, where he leads a small group of enthusiasts through the forest and points out interesting and beautiful native plants, answers questions, and tells you all sorts of fun facts. Like, did you know that the cucumber root plant (medeola virginiana) has an absolutely delicious root? Better than radishes, better than cucumbers. And now I know how to find them in the forest!

Bonus: Water Feature for Mom!

Every since she moved into her new house in Keene 4 years ago, my mom has wanted a water feature. She’s a real water lover, and the sound/sight of moving water is super-relaxing for her. So imagine my delight when I got a call asking if I could help unload a 220-lb concrete thingie at her house!

A woman standing in front of shrubs and a 3-tiered concrete fountain