If you’re looking to see the Lupines in NH, then when the second week in June rolls around, head north to Sugar Hill, exit 38 for Franconia off I 93.

Sugar Hill is on Route 117 between Franconia and Lisbon.

Because it was originally part of the town of Lisbon, it now has the distinction of being the most recently incorporated town in the state – 1962. The name Sugar Hill comes from the many sugar maples that are within the town boundaries.

The full-time 574 residents have breathtaking views of the White Mountain National Forest. Sugar Hill covers 15 square miles, has a couple of well-known inns and gift stores, a golf course, and one famous pancake house, Polly’s.

But, in June the focus of everyone’s camera is on the Fields of Lupine Festival which celebrated its 25th year in 2018. Telling you that there are fields of lupines fails miserably in describing the beauty of it all. Even these photos can’t describe seeing lupines that look like they go right up to the mountains.

The largest field, Sampler Field, is on Sunset Hill Road and allows for parking at the Sugar Hill Sampler. The field has numerous paths for walking that wind through the Lupines. As you walk, you are treated to snippets by NH poet, Robert Frost.

Over the years, we have visited three times. By far, there were more Lupines this year than we had seen before.

Are you wondering if I have Lupines in my gardens? I tried twice to grow them and was unsuccessful both times. Next time though I’ll remember not to move them once they have established themselves. Even people who garden a lot learn the hard way sometimes. πŸ™‚


What you want to know about Lupines:

  • Plants come as annuals or perennials or can be started from seed
  • There are over 200 different species
  • Prefer full sun
  • Need well-drained soil
  • Do not spread except through reseeding
  • Have a taproot which means they don’t like to be moved
  • Grow from 1′-4′ in height
  • Are part of the legume family so they can actually improve soil fertility

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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52 Responses to Lupines

  1. And here in Cornwall they are the slugs’ favourite food and need to be well protected. I would love to see fields full of them – Lupins that is, not slugs! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love them, but only see them in spring in the mountains in Wyoming. They’re beautiful.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    Oh wow! Lupines look great. I would love to stand in the lupines field (are the fields itchy?) and enjoy the good climate. Also, your profile says you are a master gardener so I am sure you must have a good garden. I am an amateur. My wife Sarah loves to garden but since we have very tiny space on the balcony we recently bought Carnations and Portulaca Grandiflora.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The paths had been worn down by something being pushed over it so people could walk. I had jeans on so when I brushed up against a plant it didn’t bother me, but I don’t think it would be itchy. Yes, I am part of the Master Gardener group here in the state. I have both flower and veggie gardens. There are a lot of people gardening on patios and balconies here in the US so they have been coming up with smaller veggie and fruits so they can be grown in containers. Hope your flowers do well for you and your wife this growing season. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Murphy's Law says:

    These are beauties!! Seeing fields of them must be awesome. Do they have a fragrance? They would certainly be a highlight in any garden. Now you’ve peaked my interest. Have to check them out at our local nursery!!
    πŸ”Ή Ginger πŸ”Ή

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Antion says:

    They are beautiful. But, you mentioned “one famous pancake house”…um,..???

    Do they bloom all summer?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joyce says:

    I admire them in the White Flower Farm catalog I get. Beautiful as a backdrop plant for a lush garden, providing height, color, and texture contrast to shorter, leafier specimens. Oh, how I wish I could actually garden instead of just yabber poetically about these beauties!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. pastpeter says:

    We visited the area when we lived in the Lakes region – what an astonishing and beautiful sight the lupines are! Interested that you had trouble growing them in your flower bed; I did too, and assumed it was my fault. Glad to know even a Master Gardener found them hard! Growing so readily in the wild, I imagined they would be an easy perennial to add to my garden!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Laurie Graves says:

    Oh, lupines! And what’s more beautiful than a field of lupines? A field of lupines with a backdrop of mountains. Someday, maybe, Clif and I will take a trip to Sugar Hill in early June to see the lupines. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the Winthrop lupines.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post. It serves as a wonderful guide for those wanting to see the Lupines. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  10. sandybrackett says:

    I agree…lots more lupines this year than last! Gorgeous up here this year. Great post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love Lupines. Those look so huge! I don’t think I have ever seen the flower that big.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Cee Neuner says:

    I simply adore lupines. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Eliza Waters says:

    Talk about a field of dreams πŸ™‚ It must be amazing to see in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful! Reminds me of the fireweed in Alaska.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mary says:

    I loved seeing the Lupines, your shots are gorgeous Judy – very special scenes to appreciate natures bounty.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ali says:

    Just lovely. Interestingly I saw lupins growing on the motorway verges on the M25 (big circular motorway around London) for the first time ever. They were spread out over a couple of miles, so I wondered if they were self-seeded from garden escapees?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Val says:

    Beautiful! There were loads of them in a local nature reserve where I used to live before moving to Wales, and recently our neighbour planted pale yellow ones in our shared driveway’s flower bed, but I’ve never grown any (we call them lupins, here in the UK). Husband just today said “they’re nice in other people’s gardens”. Hmmm!)

    Liked by 2 people

  18. joey says:

    I would LOVE to grow them. Oh if I could make them grow… Not that I’ve tried. But I don’t want to make time for that right now.
    Thank you for sharing these! Ooher!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. lupines most certainly mean summer here in the northeast! When I grow up I want to be just like Alice in the children’s book ‘Miss Rumphius”.!
    Beautiful, those lupines!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. KerryCan says:

    Seems weird to me that I, with my meager gardening experience, actually have lupines growing (in deep shade) and you don’t! I do think they’re pretty amazing and would love to see this extravaganza you describe!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a coincidence that I should read this post tonight, because this morning I had a conversation about seeing lupines growing wild with a work colleague. I was telling her how we saw beautiful fields of them in New Zealand. Yours are gorgeous too.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Karen says:

    While I was never at Sugar Hill, there used to be the most gorgeous field of Lupines in Merrimac, Massachusetts. Unfortunately the land was later turned into a housing complex.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Joanne Sisco says:

    Lupines can grow to 4 feet high?! Wow – they must be an amazing sight to see. Do they have any scent? I’m picturing vast fields of these flowers perfuming the air.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. debrapugh says:

    I used to have Lupines…long ago when I was still with the boy’s dad and had a large perennial garden. Nowadays when I take my morning walks I enjoy a neighbors’ down the road who has a nice perennial garden going on one side of their property

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Oddment says:

    I have absolutely no experience with lupines either as a gardener or an admirer, so I am totally amazed by everything. I’m trying to imagine what that view would be like with the mountains and those flowers. Of course, the name “Sugar Hill” would be enough to make everything beautiful to me! Thanks for these images!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Beautiful! Lupines are quite rare around here, but they are so prolific in the Northeast.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Nancy says:

    Oh how I would love seeing fields of large Lupines! I have a few in my gardens here in Pennsylvania.

    In AZ in the spring there are small ones on the mountain sides. Very small purple ones but they give beautiful color to the desert.

    Lovely post!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. pbmgarden says:

    Quite beautiful. Glad you can enjoy and share them.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Denzil says:

    Stunning! Thanks for sharing. I never knew they grew in the wild to such an extent.

    Liked by 2 people

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