Finally, after a very long winter and chilly spring, June marches in with sunshine and warm temperatures. What to do on a weekend morning where the thermometer reaches 71 degrees by 9:00? For starters, hit the local nursery to get a blast of color and some garden ideas.
Our local garden center, Spider Web Gardens, has been in business since 1937. It is family owned and operated and is located dangerously close to my house. While I grow my annuals, perennials and vegetables in my own greenhouse, it’s tough to stay completely away from this place in the spring.
I come from the great Pacific Northwest, with a climate that allows gardening almost year-round. Vast nurseries are up and running in February. You can plant in March. The first year I was in New Hampshire I tried to buy potting soil in February and it was nowhere to be found. Planting happens closer to Memorial Day. It’s a different world.
I love Spider Web not only for their garden offerings but for the photo opportunities. This is a treasure trove of white-paint-chippiness, vintage details, self-sown plants, resident cats and stone wall goodness. Shopping carts here are little red wagons and you’re just as likely to find them full of kids as plants. The brick house and attached barn are as quirky as any other you’d expect to find in New England. Volunteer morning glories climb up drainpipes, workers drive around in pickup trucks missing the driver’s side door, and the greenhouses are of the hand-crank variety.
So while I may say I miss the big nurseries in western Washington that offer year-round gratification for my need for dirt, and gripe that Spider Web’s prices are too high and half of their plants are unmarked, secretly I count my blessings that this place is what it is. Today I commented on a plant I loved that was crawling over a stone wall by the barn, and while they didn’t carry it in the greenhouses they let me take a cutting. Like everything else in rural New Hampshire, this place is propped up and held together by history, family ties and a fair amount of Yankee ingenuity. What they lack in discipline they make up for in authenticity. Spider Web Gardens, in all its colorful lopsidedness, is what New Hampshire is all about.