Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023

Garden Center

A new year brings new beginnings to our garden too. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what went well and how we can make improvements in 2023. If you’re looking for new directions, here are ten resolutions to reduce your workload, enhance your design, and make your garden more eco-friendly!  

Grow More Native Plants 

As longtime residents of New Hampshire, native plants often require less maintenance than garden cultivars, and are more resilient to environmental stressors, like drought and pests. They’re also beneficial to native birds and wildlife, and provide gifts of tea, herbs, and food to us too. Plus, they express the unique beauty of our natural landscapes!

SL Garden Center-Moultonborough-Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023-bee on flowerIncrease Your Pollinator Habitat 

Anytime you attract a greater diversity of insects to your garden you’ll increase its resilience, boost natural pest control, and help reverse the trend of pollinator decline in our larger ecosystems. Pollinators are especially important to enhance the yields of your fruit, berries, nuts, and vegetables. Growing more native species, having blooms in each season, and providing overwintering habitats are a few of the many ways to attract beneficial insects.  

Have Blossoms in Every Season 

Spring is not the only time for flowers. In fact, the most beautiful gardens have blooming plants throughout the whole growing season. The nectar is also essential to feed bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and more from spring to fall. So, flip through your memories of last season, see where you have gaps between blooms, and research plants to fill in the intervals. 

SL Garden Center-Moultonborough-Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023-planting a treePlant in Empty Spaces 

Take a look at the empty places in your landscape and see if you can make them blossom with new flowers, vegetables, shrubs, or trees. Any vacant spot is an opportunity to enjoy more color, scent, vegetables, and nourishment for the birds and bees. More life in your garden feels more inspiring and looks more beautiful too.  

Take Advantage of Groundcovers 

What is it about professional gardens that seem to be overflowing with life? A common trend is the use of groundcovers. Nestled in between perennials, these low-lying plants provide a carpet of flowers that often blossom for many months. By covering the ground, they also hold in moisture and prevent the growth of weeds. Check out creeping phlox, creeping thyme, lamium, or sedum!

SL Garden Center-Moultonborough-Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023-companion plantingUse Companion Planting 

Far from a new trend, companion planting is a gardening technique that humans have been using for thousands of years. It takes advantage of beneficial relationships between plants to boost natural pest control, enhance yields, and cycle nutrients. Planting marigolds near vegetables to ward off pests is one of many examples. Research ideal combinations for your favorite garden plants and take advantage of them this year!   

Start a Compost Pile 

Composting is another long-standing garden trend that’s not going away anytime soon. It’s arguably an essential part of reusing plant material and replenishing nutrients in your soil. Compost doesn’t have to be stinky either. In fact, a healthy compost pile should have a rich, earthy smell. The key is to have the correct proportions of nitrogen and carbon, and to turn it often.  

SL Garden Center-Moultonborough-Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023-water runoff from houseBetter Water Management 

Save yourself the effort and reduce your footprint with better water management. Setting up timers, using drip irrigation lines, mulching your gardens, and watering in the morning rather than midday can all help conserve water. On the other hand, planting rain gardens and ensuring proper sloping helps manage excess water on your landscape. 

Grow Plants in the Right Places 

Every plant has its preferred home, whether in shade or sun, or dry or wet spots. Often, many plants still grow even if their conditions are not ideal, but they’ll be more work to water, more prone to pests, and won’t look their best. You can let your plants reduce your workload by ensuring they are in the right spot. Research any plants that were suffering last year and transplant them this season, if necessary. 

SL Garden Center-Moultonborough-Creative Resolutions for Your Garden in 2023-bird watchingStart a Phenology Practice 

The key to eco-friendly gardening is to take advantage of the natural features in your landscape and mesh your garden with the larger ecosystem around you. Both of these practices hinge on knowing your land in a deep way—that’s where phenology comes in. It’s the practice of observing the activities of wildlife, insects, plants, and weather throughout the seasons. Just by observing and recording what’s going on around you, you’ll get ideas of how to improve your garden and integrate it into the ecosystem. Plus, phenology is an enjoyable practice on its own!  

For more ideas on new gardening directions in 2023, feel free to visit our garden center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, and follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products! 


Need a Last-Minute Gift? Buy a Giftcard!

Garden Center

A shrewd gift-giver is always listening for clues that their loved ones occasionally drop about the things they would love to have or need to replace. For many people, however, these subtle clues often escape us and before we know it we’re less than a week away from Christmas without even a list of ideas. If that’s your situation, don’t worry. Gift cards can rescue us from these tricky places—especially if they let you buy new plants or improve the garden! 

SL Garden Center- New Hampshire- Gift Card for Christmas

Why Buy a Gift Card From a Garden Center? 

You don’t need to be a green thumb to enjoy a gift card from a garden center. Even if your friend has never planted a carrot in their life, this token may finally be their entrance into the world of gardening. Unlike other gifts, which we might use and discard, or eat and digest; a gift card for a garden center is like giving the promise of spring itself. It’s a present that can grow into a tree that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life, or a garden which can nourish your family for many seasons! 

SL Garden Center- New Hampshire- plants for saleWhat Can You Buy with a Gift Card from Our Garden Center? 

A Beautiful Garden 

We don’t need any scientific studies to tell us how nourishing and fulfilling it is to live in beautiful places. A gift card from our garden center can blossom into new perennials and annuals to beautify a garden. From native plants to popular garden treasures, the list of possibilities is about as wide as your imagination. We don’t just have plants either, but compost, mulch, soil amendments, and all the ingredients necessary for a thriving garden! 

New Trees and Shrubs 

There’s perhaps no other gift as enduring as a tree, which can easily outlive us and even the lifespan of our houses. Bestowing shade, shelter, nuts, fruit, bird habitat, and colorful leaves throughout the seasons, trees keep giving back year after year. Shrubs are equally valuable, providing structure, blossoms, color, berries, and a middle story to our designs. Both trees and shrubs are lifelong companions that improve our lives as well as our landscapes! 

SL Garden Center- New Hampshire- harvesting carrotsA Gift of Garden Produce 

Imagine if you could give your loved ones good health, more energy, and tasty food for Christmas. With a gift card to the garden center, all of those things are possible. Whether from a garnish garden in the kitchen, or a full-sized vegetable plot outdoors—fresh vegetables and herbs are some of the most energizing gifts possible! It’s not just the food itself, but the experience of planting, tending, and harvesting that are also great gifts and wholesome activities that you can do with the family.   

Hardscape Features

A big pile of rocks may not be the first gift that comes to mind when you think of your loved ones. Indeed, rocks in your stocking may seem like a punishment, but in the great outdoors, they become a great gift to one’s landscape. Whether they’re wishing for rock mulch, stepping stones, pavers, or other features, your friends and family can easily dedicate our gift cards towards improving their hardscapes. 

SL Garden Center- New Hampshire- Gift Card for Christmas- garden planterHome and Garden Decor

The beauty of our home and garden is not just in the pathways and plants, it’s also in the accessories we place around them. Be it a bird bath, spring planter, or Christmas decor, small decorations placed in the right spot can brighten a whole area. At our garden center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, you’ll find many accessories to enhance the decor of your garden and home.    

Even though a gift card at Christmas may be a last-minute purchase, the things you buy with them can last a lifetime. Long after the holidays are over, the new additions to your loved ones’ gardens will continue to thrive and become perennial gift-givers of their own!    

Debunking the Poinsettia Myth

Garden Center

It’s time to discover the truth about poinsettias. As it turns out, they’re not as toxic as we thought, not always red, and arguably not even flowers—at least not in the parts we thought. It’s time to cut through the myths and learn the fascinating facts and history behind these beautiful, harmless plants! Here are four myths and three fun facts about the poinsettia to help you become a more informed decorator this holiday season:    

SL Garden Center-New Hampshire-History of The Poinsettia-pet safe poinsettiaMyth #1: Poinsettias are Poisonous 

Once a plant gets a reputation for being poisonous, it’s hard to shake it. Even if we read countless articles that prove their harmlessness, there’s always a tiny voice in the back of our heads that wonders, “Yeah, but are they really safe?” Fortunately, with poinsettias, the answer is a resounding yes! 

The poisonous poinsettia rumor dates all the way back to 1920, when a child allegedly died from eating the leaves. Although this was never proven, the myth took off. Since then, however, countless scientific reports have shown that poinsettias are, in fact, non-toxic to both pets and children. According to the Center for Poison Control, even a quantity of 500 leaves will not have a dangerous effect if eaten. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the poinsettia’s sap is a mild skin irritant, and if your pet does eat the leaves, they may experience nausea or vomiting—a completely normal reaction to eating any non-edible plant. However, even though this plant is considered “non-edible,” it’s still not poisonous and won’t cause any serious health effects if your pet or child nibbles on a couple of leaves. This means we can safely put our worries aside and freely keep poinsettias around pets and children.  

Myth #2: Poinsettias Don’t Last Long

Most people think of poinsettias as strictly Christmas plants; however, if you give them the proper care, they’ll stay in bloom for up to 2-3 months! To ensure a long bloom, take care not to overwater your poinsettia, and only give them a top-up when their soil is dry to the touch. Also, keep their room’s temperature at a steady 65-70 degrees, and avoid placing your poinsettias near any heat sources or cold drafts. Finally, remember to give them lots of natural light, and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy plant throughout the holidays and beyond!     

SL Garden Center-New Hampshire-History of The Poinsettia-poinsettia color changeMyth #3: The Poinsettia’s Flowers Are the Bright Red Parts 

This one might seem a bit strange, but the red flowers on poinsettias aren’t technically flowers. They’re actually specialized leaves called flower bracts, which change colors during the bloom period. They act just like flower petals, attracting insects with their bright colors, but because they’re leaves, they last longer than typical blossoms. The poinsettia’s actual flowers are, in fact, the tiny gold and pink cups in the center of the flower bracts.   

Myth #4: Poinsettias Are Always Red 

While the traditional poinsettia color we all know and love is the classic bright red, plant growers have also bred varieties of white, pink, apricot, and variegated red and white poinsettias. Occasionally, you may even find blue poinsettias—perhaps similar to the illusive blue rose—but these are painted, not grown. However, all other varieties are just as authentic and beautiful as the classic scarlet poinsettia, so don’t be afraid to branch out and experiment with other poinsettia colors this holiday season!

SL Garden Center-New Hampshire-History of The Poinsettia-poinsettias for saleFact #1: Poinsettias Make Excellent Cut Flowers 

If you want to show off your poinsettias in a vase this year, you can turn them into cut flowers. The only trick is to singe the end of the flower stem with a match after cutting to prevent the latex-like sap from escaping. Doing so will help your cut poinsettias last for up to 1-2 weeks in a vase of water! 

Fact #2: Poinsettias Come From Mexico 

Poinsettias originate from a region in southern Mexico, where they grow upwards of 10-15 feet tall in the wild. The Aztecs used their flower bracts as a clothing dye and their latex-like sap for medicinal purposes. An American diplomat discovered the flower while on a tour of Mexico in the 1800s and sent clippings back home to be propagated. The plant’s popularity in North America quickly grew upon its introduction, becoming the holiday staple we all know and love today.

SL Garden Center-New Hampshire-History of The Poinsettia-joel poinsettFact #3: Poinsettias Are Named After Joel Poinsett 

Joel Poinsett was the American diplomat and botanist we just mentioned who discovered poinsettias in Mexico in 1828. He sent them back to his home in South Carolina, where he began propagating and sharing them with other horticulturalists. They eventually became an iconic holiday plant due to their December blooms and red and green color. Joel Poinsett died on December 12, 1851, which is now celebrated each year as national poinsettia day in honor of him and the beautiful flower he helped popularize.

Some myths take a long time to correct, and may never disappear completely. This statement definitely holds true for the poinsettia, whose long and fascinating history has long been plagued by rumors of their toxicity. Despite this myth, however, we can rest assured knowing that poinsettias are, in fact, as harmless as they are beautiful. Far from the deadly Christmas plant they’re rumored to be, poinsettias are harmless and can be safely enjoyed long after Christmas. 

SL Garden Center-New Hampshire-History of The Poinsettia-pink poinsettiasCome visit our garden center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, to find your next poinsettia today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and featured products.  


How to Care for Your Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree

Garden Center

Like your other houseplants, Christmas trees need special care to stay at their best throughout the holidays. The right kinds of watering, placement, preparation, and even transportation to your home all play a role in preserving their longevity and preventing needle loss. Here are our best care tips for keeping your fresh-cut tree fresh this holiday season!

Set Up Your Christmas Tree at the Right Time 

While it’s tempting to rush out right after Thanksgiving and choose a tree, keep in mind that fresh-cut Christmas trees only last indoors for about 4-5 weeks. Because of this limited timeframe, setting your tree up 2-3 weeks before Christmas is ideal; after all, you don’t want to set it up too early only to have it lose its needles by the time of the big day. With that said, if you do buy your tree early to avoid the rush, you don’t have to bring it inside right away. Instead, keep it outside while you wait for set-up time, as the cold temperatures will help preserve your tree until you’re ready to decorate. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Care for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree-christmas trees for saleChoose a Fresh Tree 

Most trees you find are cut fresh within days or up to a week of arriving there. Still, it doesn’t hurt to check the tree and test it yourself. Shake the tree, check its branches for any brown spots, and gently drop its base on the ground a few times. While it’s normal for a few needles to shake off, a fresh tree will retain most of them. Another sure sign of a good tree is a fresh fragrance, so don’t be afraid to give them a good sniff!  

Prevent Moisture Loss During the Ride Home  

Remember that this beautiful tree you just bought is still living, breathing, and trying to retain as much moisture as possible. Many people strap it to the top of their car without thinking twice, but the rushing wind on the drive home can quickly dry out your tree’s needles. If you plan to tie it to the roof, wrap it in a tarp or blanket first.   

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Care for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree-cut base of christmas treeGive Your Christmas Tree a Fresh Cut  

Even if your tree just got to our garden center before you bought it, you’ll still want to give the stem another fresh cut before setting it up. That’s because the tree’s sap seals the wound within 4-5 hours of cutting. If you plan to leave the tree outside for a few days, there’s no need to cut the base right away. Instead, wait until you’re ready to bring it inside to saw 1-2 inches off the base, to make it easier for it to drink fresh water. 

Keep Your Tree Away From Heat 

While it’s tempting to place your tree in a warm and cozy spot, make sure you don’t place it too close to a fireplace, furnace, or any other heat source. Heat will dry your tree out faster, leading to more needles on the floor. Instead, choose a place where your evergreen can enjoy a comfortable climate. 

Water —and Rewater —Your Tree Often 

Remember to fill your tree’s basin with water soon after set-up, and keep a close eye on its water levels; you’ll be surprised at how fast a thirsty tree can drink a few gallons. Always refill the basin before the water falls below the base of the trunk. That way, your tree will always have as much water as it needs, and its needles will stay on for longer.  

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Care for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree-lights on christmas treeTurn On Your Christmas Lights Strategically 

The purpose of a Christmas tree is to enjoy its beautiful decorations, especially the lights. However, keep in mind that Christmas lights—especially incandescents—kick off a lot of heat. This doesn’t mean you have to skip the lights altogether, but just remember to turn them off when you’re not enjoying your tree.   

Use an Anti-Desiccant 

Anti-desiccants give your tree an extra hand in preventing needle loss. They act as a type of sealant, helping to lock moisture in. If you plan to use one, remember to spray it outside and wait until the tree is dry before bringing it back into your home.  

So, what’s the best way to care for a fresh-cut Christmas tree? At the end of the day, it all really comes down to moisture retention. Choosing a fresh tree, wrapping it on the way home, recutting for water access, regularly topping its water up, and keeping it away from heat are the most important steps; follow them the best you can, and your tree will be looking gorgeous all season long! 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Care for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree-tree water reservoirFor more guidance on fresh-cut Christmas tree care, or for answers to any other commonly-asked plant questions, visit our garden center in Moultonborough, NH, today! Also, don’t forget to follow our Facebook or Instagram pages for updates and featured products.  

How to Grow a Garnish Garden in Your Kitchen

Garden Center

One of home gardening’s sweetest pleasures is enjoying a bouquet of freshly-grown herbs whenever you like. Although the plants themselves may be small, the freshness, flavor, and satisfaction they bring to your home cooking is immense. As it turns out, you don’t need to say goodbye to them when winter comes to New Hampshire. With indoor pots, you can grow fresh cilantro, mint, oregano, basil, and more without much effort year-round—here’s how!  

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Grow a Garnish Garden in Your Kitchen-holding tray of herbsWhat Herbs Can You Grow Indoors? 

Almost any herb you can grow in your garden will grow indoors, including basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, mint, cilantro, summer savory, sage, parsley, chives, and rosemary. Most herbs—except for woody perennials like rosemary—can be started from seeds in a small pot of potting soil. However, since many herbs are slow to germinate, it’s often easier to buy them as seedlings.

How Much Light Does an Indoor Herb Garden Need? 

With herbs, more sunlight equals better growth and bigger flavor, so it’s best to place your garnish garden near the brightest window available. Ideally, they should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day, but shade-tolerant herbs like parsley, mint, and cilantro can get by with as little as four. If your herbs are leggy and leaning towards the light, it’s a sign they want to move to a sunnier spot.      

How to Water an Indoor Herb Garden

Most herbs need water once the top inch of soil dries out, but this can vary: heat-loving Mediterranean species like rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage like to dry out a bit more between watering, whereas parsley, basil, cilantro, and mint like to stay moist, but not soggy. Growing your herbs in appropriately-sized pots will also go a long way toward maintaining consistent watering, as you’ll see below. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Grow a Garnish Garden in Your Kitchen-harvesting herbsHow to Harvest an Indoor Herb Garden 

If you want a continual harvest of tasty herbs, it’s best to snip off a bit at a time as needed. Take no more than one-third of the plant at once, and remember to let it grow back before taking more. Another trick of the trade is to harvest based on your plant’s shape—take away any leggy bits to encourage thicker growth, and thin out any areas that are too dense to let your herbs breathe. 

An Indoor Herb Garden with Grow Lights 

If your herbs are getting too leggy, or aren’t growing much, they may not be getting enough sun. If this is the case, you can supplement with grow lights. Grow lights simulate the sun by giving off a broader visible light spectrum and more powerful rays than standard lights, providing your herbs with all the energy they need to thrive. Remember to switch your grow lights on and off at regular intervals to imitate the day and night cycle. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Grow a Garnish Garden in Your Kitchen-assorted dried herbsExtra Tips for a Successful Herb Garden

  • Choose the Right Size of Pot: when the pot used is too big for your herbs, the soil doesn’t dry out evenly, making watering a difficult guessing game. Likewise, if it’s too small, your herbs will quickly dry out without a constant water supply. Using the right-sized pot will simplify your indoor herb care immensely. 
  • Imitate the Wind: most herbs don’t have very strong stems at the best of times. Without exposure to outdoor wind, however, they become even weaker. Simulating the wind by running your hand through the leaves will help strengthen your herbs’ stems and improve growth. 
  • Don’t Let Them Get Too Dense: like all plants, herbs need a bit of airflow between their leaves to keep them healthy and free of pests. Dense foliage prevents this and encourages a build-up of moisture, which can lead to mold, mildew, and other nuisances.  

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center-New Hampshire-How to Grow a Garnish Garden in Your Kitchen-pesto ingredientsRecipe Ideas for Your Indoor Herb Garden 

The beauty of an indoor herb garden is that it gives you a fresh supply of herbs throughout the day, even for simple meals like a tossed salad or sandwich. Of course, fresh herbs also immediately boost the flavor of any holiday dish, including roasted meats and vegetables, sauces, dressings, marinades, and more. Try finishing your steaks with a compound butter made of garlic, sea salt, and fresh rosemary, or make a simple syrup infused with fresh mint, thyme, or sage for killer holiday cocktails. If you’ve never tried it, homemade pesto makes an indoor herb garden instantly worth the effort. Try branching out beyond the classic basil, and explore mouth-watering alternatives like cilantro and parsley pesto.  

You don’t need to be a green thumb to enjoy fresh herbs year-round. All it takes is a sunny window sill, regular watering, appropriate pots, and savvy harvesting, and you can have fresh herbs within arm’s reach all winter long, right in your kitchen. For more information on how to start your indoor herb garden, visit our garden center in Moultonborough, NH, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products! 


Please note that our herbs have sold quickly this season, and we only have a few left—visit while supplies last!