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The phases of the moon have been used for centuries, by many cultures as a guiding light by which to determine the optimum planting time for crops. This is because, in much the same way the ocean tides rise and fall according to the moon's gravitational pull, the same occurs with water tables in the earth, making certain phases of the moon ideal for particular planting practices. It's a proven successful method that farmers still rely on today.  

The last winter Super "Worm Moon" passed on March 21st, coinciding with the Spring Equinox. The full moon in March is called the Worm Moon because it signifies the time when the ground begins to thaw and earthworms emerge. The earthworms are what bring robins back to our yards, another indicator that spring has truly arrived. 

The intricacies of moon phases can be complex to sort out, but for us backyard NH gardeners, there are some simple rules we can follow. 

The waxing of the moon occurs between the New Moon and the Full Moon - when light is increasing. In the Northern Hemisphere, a waxing moon will be illuminated on the right side.

The waning of the moon occurs between the Full Moon and the New Moon - when light is decreasing. In the Northern Hemisphere, a waning moon will be illuminated on the left side.
Gardening by the Moon 
Upcoming Key Phrase Dates
For our region, it's a bit too early for tender annual flowers and plants just yet. The Pink Moon took place on April 18th, and while the moon itself doesn't turn pink (we wish!) it is an indication that the color pink starts to appear in nature - cherry blossoms, wildflowers and even sunsets.

Meanwhile, with the Worm Moon past and ground thawing it is now safe to plant perennials and shrubs. 

The Full Moon in May is also known as the Full Flower Moon and is considered the official lunar green light for all planting, as it is a signal of the last frost.  

Mother Nature still always has the final say on when it is safe to plant, but if we take our cues from the moon as the Native Americans did, we'll know what she's telling us.
If the phases of the moon are too complex to guide your activities or you have little daylight hours to spend in the garden, but are still fascinated with gardening by the moon, a Moon Garden just might be your destiny.

Moon Gardens are as old as the ages and they create a serene and mystical spot for contemplation, romance and meditation - day or night. 

The key to creating a Moon Garden that will magically shine under a night sky is to plant white flowers that open at night, plants with silver or variegated foliage and for a full sensory experience, choose highly fragrant varieties. 
Top 10 Moon Garden Plants | Get Started 
Moonflower - (Ipomoea 'Alba') this tropical climber is an annual in the Northeast that will thrive in full sun. It makes the top of our list for its large white, sweetly scented blooms that make their nightly appearance as the sun begins to set. Blooms all summer. 
Bleeding Heart - (Dicentra spectabilis 'alba') is a perennial featuring delicate white, heart-shaped flowers that dance along stems from late spring to early summer. Its ferny leaves are a light green color that will stand out at night and remain throughout the season.
Climbing Hydrangea - (Hydrangea anomala 'petiolaris') is native to the woodlands of Japan and is sought after for its stunning fragrant white lace cap flowers that cover the branches from early to mid-summer. Its dark, glossy heart-shaped leaves will catch in the moonlight.
Lily 'Casa Blanca' - sold as a bulb or developed plant that will return year after year and produce huge, stark white flowers in August on fluffy and tall candlestick stems. The bloom is worth the wait, as the intoxicating scent will fill the night air and drift through the entire neighborhood. 
Liatris 'Blazing Star' - Floristan White Blazing Star (also known as Gayfeather) is a perennial with tall featherlike spikes of star-shaped white flowers rising toward the sky from mid-summer to early fall.
Mock Orange - 'Blizzard' Mock Orange is a great variety for our region. This flowering shrub produces a blizzard profusion of citrusy fragrant and pure white flowers in early summer that smell like just like orange blossoms. 
Vase Vine Clematis - A perennial and another climber that we like for its celestial appeal. This vine looks like the night sky when it fills with dainty, star-like and sweetly scented white flowers late in the season.
Silver Mound Artemesia - Although it doesn't flower, we like this perennial for the Moon Garden for two reasons 1. because its silvery foliage tends to reflect the light and 2. for its textile appeal - it is silky soft with a woody, herbaceous scent when touched.
Snow In Summer - (Cerastium tomentosum) A groundcover with silver gray foliage that will be carpeted with masses of star-shaped white flowers in late spring.
Hosta or Ornamental Grass - Choose variegated, silver or white plume/ flowering varieties to add softness and full season interest. 
Also look to add these WHITE annual flowers in pots or to fill out the space between perennials and achieve continuous bloom throughout the season:

   🌙 Cosmos (because it is oh so boho),
   🌙 Petunia (for max impact look for 'Wave' variety),
   🌙 Four O'Clocks (another night bloomer), 
   🌙 Sweet Alyssum (unforgettable romantic fragrance), 
   🌙 Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet drips with huge, fragrant flowers).

Add more moon radiance by incorporating light colored rocks or a stepping stone path, reflective garden art like gazing balls and solar lanterns or fairy lights. 

The beauty of the garden is it's like a work of art. A creation all your own, of your own interpretation and it never has to be truly finished. You can change, add to and improve upon them over time. Just be sure to plan for space to enhance a peaceful experience, such as a rock wall or bench for seating, wind chimes or a water feature.

Your Moon Garden is sure to become your new zen space to enjoy after the stresses of the day!

Consult Your Local Experts

Learning more about Gardening By the Moon or planting a Moon Garden is just a short trip away. Your local garden center, greenhouse, nursery or landscape experts are happy to advise on when it is best to plant and help you make plant selections for your space. Bring your challenges, mood boards or idea journals and simply ask for guidance. You'll find your neighborhood plant center to be a retreat in itself, staffed with helpful pros, a wealth of information and stocked with all the supplies and resources you need.

SAVE THE DATE!
Plant Something NH Weekend | June 1-2, 2019

Governor Sununu has proclaimed June 1-2, 2019 as Plant Something NH Weekend. It just so happens this weekend falls right before the New Moon in June, the time when lunar gravity causes seeds to swell and moonlight just begins to increase to stimulate leaf growth - the perfect time to Plant Something - Anything!

Whenever You Plant Something This Single Act Sets So Much Positivity In Motion! 

Join people all over New Hampshire as a participant in this ONE WEEKEND dedicated to a simple, SINGLE ACT. You'll be doing something good for your own individual health and well-being, while collectively making a BIG IMPACT on our community, the environment and our NH economy. 

It's easy to take part:
1.
Visit Your Local Plant Retailer
2. Get Inspired
3. Plant Something. Anything!

Participating farm stands, florists, garden centers, greenhouses, landscapers, nurseries and related organizations all across New Hampshire are offering inspiration by hosting independent events and promotions during Plant Something NH Weekend.

Visit our website to find and event near you and join our Facebook event for regular updates.

If you don't have space to garden, look to join a community event. If you don't have time to garden, choose a potted plant or ask your local Landscaper to Plant Something for you!

Thrive NH content is sourced exclusively for you by The NH Plant Growers Association and Plant Something NH to bring you regional and seasonal tips, advice and inspiration. On behalf of NH growers and related merchants, we thank you for shopping local to plant something for your home, health or well-being and for the good of our local environment and economy. 
Follow Us & Keep Sharing The Love!


This content brought to you by Plant Something NH 
and NH industry growers, retailers and educators.
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