What Going On in the Garden Now: Maple Sugar Season – New England

maple sugaring maple syrup harvest trees northeast

1. Sugar House, 2. Untitled, 3. Grading Samples, 4. liquid gold

There is snow on the ground but the temps have risen and the sap has started to flow.  This is what I love about living in a place with four distinct seasons.  Every month seems to bring about a new event to look forward to.   Right now new englanders and maple tree owners all over are tapping trees to collect sap to boil down into maple syrup.

maple sugar season in new england

1. Tintinhull Family Farm The Sugar Shack, 2. Maple Sugaring Shack, 3. Sugar Shack at Night, 4. Tapped Maples, 5. Sugar Maples tapped to collect sap, 6. Boiling kettles

I argue it is impossible to live here and not become a maple syrup snob — I wonder why Aunt Jemima even tries, she should just pack up and leave. The homegrown, straight from nature pancake sauce is incomparably better.

I have never given the sugaring process a try, though I know as my kids get older, it will be a right of passage in this New England town — somewhere around the third grade every student will have a maple sugar project and I know of no parent who hasn’t pitched in, tapped a tree, and boiled for hours. I am looking forward to this inevitability and making note of which trees are maples in our woods.  In the mean time,  I share with you this little roundup of  sugaring tools that are beautiful now and year round in the garden.

maple sugaring supplies roundup taps tap bucket shaker bucket sap buckets jars

Sugar Bowl in the landscape.  Kim’s mason jar maple syrupVintage Syrup buckets. 40 gallon iron Kettle. Antique Maple tap collection. Shaker sap bucket. Not shown, but you can get a great starter kit for tree tapping here.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

1 Comment

  1. Louise on March 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Great image mosaics, rochelle;
    When my kids were small (15+ yrs ago) we boiled sap in the kitchen thruout the month of march at the end of which we had about 5 qts of decent syrup, alot of crusty over evaporated sugar crystals and wallpaper flopping off of the walls. It was a fun time- kinda crazy, just my style.
    Try it!

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