Find Your Favorite Green Spot
Discover the beauty of native plants in distinctive places
Updated announcement for visitors about our response to COVID-19
As we all take steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it will come as no surprise that we must postpone the mid-April opening of Garden in the Woods and the late-April opening of Nasami Farm's Garden Shop. We ended Winter Walking at the Garden early. At this point, we cannot yet announce new opening dates with certainty, so please check back often.
The Nature Conservancy, which co-owns and manages the Eshqua Bog sanctuary in Hartland VT, with Native Plant Trust, has closed all of its preserves, including Eshqua Bog, during the COVID-19 threat. Because visitors use a boardwalk to explore the bog, it is more difficult to create safe social distancing at this location. The other native plant sanctuaries owned by Native Plant Trust, which allow for safe social distancing, remain open. Please respect the COVID-19 public safety guidelines when you visit any of our sanctuaries.
We’ve heard from many of you that you can’t wait to get back into your gardens and start planting. Until we can help you in person at our Garden Shops, we have a few ways to help you select and get plants while respecting guidelines for physical distancing. For details, visit our Buy Native Plants page.
You can still access our great education programs, as we’ve moved most of them online. Go to our Classes & Field Studies page for more information and to register.
Please see our home page for contact info for questions about our various public activities.
While the next few weeks will be hard on all of us, we can use the situation to build community in new ways. And we’ll be that much happier to see each other in person when the time comes.
—Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director
Native Plant Trust's eight properties throughout New England form a loose continuum of the region's natural conditions, from cultivated to wild. Our six native plant sanctuaries, in particular, offer a sampling of habitat types, where rare plants thrive in the specific conditions in which they evolved, from sandplains to rich mesic forests: You'll find stunning lady's-slippers sprouting from the mire of a Vermont bog, dozens of fern species thriving on the floor of a rich maple forest in New Hampshire, and more than 100 wildflower species thriving in a forest and marsh along the shore of Maine's Merrymeeting Bay.
At Garden in the Woods, in eastern Massachusetts, you'll experience the most cultivated end of the spectrum on a spectacular site—a botanic garden showcasing native plants on a glacial landscape rippling with ravines and ridges.
Those who visit the seasonal Garden Shop at Nasami Farm, in Whately, Massachusetts, will find a nursery with expansive views of farmland in the Connecticut River Valley, part of New England's largest watershed.
Wild Orchids and More at Eshqua Bog
Eshqua Bog preserves Ice Age plants whose ranges were once much larger.
After the last glacier receded more than 10,000 years ago, the climate gradually warmed, and most of the cold-loving plants and animals common throughout the landscape gave way to species adapted to warmer temperatures. But where the terrain has preserved glacial-era conditions, pockets of cold-climate plants have survived. Eshqua Bog, a Native Plant Trust sanctuary (co-managed with The Nature Conservancy) in Hartland, VT, is one such pocket. The bog is a botanical trove of ancient bog and fen species: Labrador-tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), cottonsedge (Eriophorum), pitcherplants (Sarracenia), larches (Larix laricina), and buck-bean (Menyanthes trifoliata). Wild orchids are also a big attraction here: Yellow lady’s-slippers (Cypripedium parviflorum), showy lady's-slippers (Cypripedium reginae), northern bog orchids (Platanthera dilatata), and green orchids (Platanthera huronensis, P. aquilonis) offer a spectacular late-spring/early summer display. In a typical year, yellow lady’s-slippers start blooming in late May or early June, followed by the showy species in rich pink, typically during the third week of June.
Hobbs Fern Sanctuary Holds More than Fronds
In Lyman, New Hampshire, varied geology underpins the diversity of plant life.
Tucked between the Connecticut River and the White Mountains in northwest New Hampshire, this 260-acre sanctuary is a trove of biodiversity wrapped in the enchantment of a secret garden. Explore groves of beech, birch, and maple; rich sugar maple woods at the base of steep ledges; dense stands of balsam fir and red spruce; swamps of red maple and black ash; and meadows and shrub lands.
These distinct communities contain the sanctuary’s 500-plus native plant species, including more than 50 different ferns, club mosses, and horsetails. In the moist woods, spring wildflowers abound—sharp-lobed hepatica, Canada violet, wild ginger, bloodroot, blue cohosh. These varied plant communities support an equally impressive mix of wildlife, notably moose, beaver, woodcocks, red-tail hawks, and several species of warbler.
The secret of this richness lies in the land itself: The geology, topography, and hydrology range from low-lying wetlands to dry, steep slopes. For at least 200 years, human use—farming and timber harvesting—also shaped this land. Its last private owners, Christina and Sturtevant Hobbs, recognized the property’s unique character and asked the Society to continue the conservation they had begun, donating it in 2004. Today, the surrounding area remains rural, and with no major roads nearby, the property offers not only a sanctuary for native plants and animals, but a peaceful refuge for human beings.