Monthly Archives: April 2017

Fill Your Shade Garden With Colorful Plants

Shade is a wonderful opportunity for gardeners to play with the color, shapes, and textures of foliage, which plays an important role in creating cool, lush tapestries along woodland walks and under trees. When selecting plants, consider your site first. While few plants will grow in deep shade, many tolerate — or require — low light and partial shade. Surprisingly, sun-lovers like Daylilies and Geraniums perform well in light shade; their flowers may be sparser but they  continue for a longer time.

We offer a wide variety of plants for shade.
We offer a wide variety of perennials for shade like this Tricyrtis hirta Miyazaki Hybrids. Click the image above to browse our offering.

Check soil composition and drainage. Be sure to include a generous amount of humus-rich organic material, to supply nutrients and help the soil retain moisture. Soil moisture is an important consideration. Astilbes and Primula, for example, prefer moist soil, while Hostas and Epimedium do well in dry situations. All Plants appreciate regular watering, particularly during their first year while their roots establish — about an inch of water each week. To help minimize moisture loss and moderate soil temperature, cover the soil around new plants with organic mulch.

When choosing plants that will thrive in your location, focus on foliage contrasts because flowers are fleeting. Look for plants with distinctive leaf shapes and colors, including variegation, and combine smaller-leaved linear plants with the bigger, bolder forms. One final point — plan for a succession of bloom, starting with early spring bulbs followed by plants with spring, summer, and fall flowers. Annuals are a big help here.

Consider adding colorful annuals for shade. We have over 150 to choose from.
Consider adding colorful annuals for shade. We have over 150 to choose from this spring. Click the image above to browse.

Now that you have created this beautiful shady respite from summer’s heat, consider making it destination. Welcome admirers with a pretty bench or other garden seating.

Emerald Isle Hosta Collection

How to Create an Enchanting Garden Pathway

Make a Path with The Works Daffodils
Make a Path with The Works Daffodils

Paths serve many functions in a landscape, both practical and esthetic. A paved one can lead guests, mud-free, to the front door, or allow you to fetch the mail every day. A gravel path might provide access to a storage shed or garage year-round to fetch the lawnmower and snow shovels. A grass or mulch pathway could lead to the vegetable garden, or invite you to explore the far end of the backyard among shrubs and ferns. Paths should be treated as important design elements, allowing you to link different parts of your landscape or simply draw your eye to various focal points. Sometimes it helps to imagine yourself as a designer, not just a gardener!

Here are some ways to meet the challenge of creating successful pathways that are functional as well as pleasing to the eye.

  • Start with long-blooming perennials and those with handsome foliage. For a long walkway, plan to repeat some of the elements to impart a sense of unity.
  • Vary foliage texture for the most interesting display. Start with your favorite varieties and then look for contrast — narrow and broad-leaved or feathery and ferny leaves. For a full to partial sun location, consider the scalloped, sage green leaves of Lady’s Mantle and deeply cut foliage of hardy Geraniums. For the shade, Hostas provide handsome leaf coloration with varying shapes and sizes.
  • On a long or winding path, add some surprise elements with a handful of tall plants such as the soft yellow Digitalis grandiflora or fragrant Oriental Lilies. Mark a turn in a sunny path with a tuteur or trellis embellished with a Clematis or Climbing Rose.
  • Consider compact shrubs for plenty of easy-care color. For partial or full sun, a number of Hydrangea varieties stay relatively short (3-4ft) and provide lush, showy flower heads. For full sun, there’s a whole new generation of Butterfly Bushes that mature 3-5ft tall with long-lasting, fragrant blooms.
  • Add romance by letting some plants grow over the path’s edge. Imagine a tumble of colorful perennial blooms such as Dianthus, Nepeta, or Coreopsis. Or the blade-like foliage of Ornamental Grasses that catch the slightest breeze and provide a sense of movement.
Plant perennials along the path
Consider Iris, Baptisa, Hydrangeas, Salvia or Heuchera for your path garden.

 

  • Using the path in the evening? White flowers remain visible for a long time after sunset, and reflect the tiniest bit of light. Hardy perennials such as white Astilbes, Gypsophila, and Leucanthemum will look clean and crisp during the day and glow at twilight.
  • Consider adding some annuals to a walkway, especially in the shade. Coleus, Begonias, and Impatiens provide long-lasting color and form tucked between perennials along a path.
  • For a simple, elegant display, a hedge-like planting of fragrant Lavender will transport you to Provence as you stroll along your sunny pathway. Plants are deer-resistant and stay attractive long after the spent blooms have been clipped off.

These ideas are just the starting points for successful pathway plantings.

The Store Is Open for the Season!

1-primroses_store

Welcome spring with a visit to the White Flower Farm Store! We’re open for the season and stocked with plants, supplies, gifts, and gear to get you going and growing.

While the weather is not quite warm enough to begin gardening outdoors, we have plenty to get you started inside the house. We offer a wide variety of Dahlia tubers, which can be potted up and started indoors then transplanted into the garden as the spring temperatures settle down – generally sometime in the middle of May in our part of the world.  To bring color and life to your indoor spaces or dress up the house for Easter and other spring celebrations, we have a selection of beautiful, easy care houseplants – from cheerful primroses and beguiling, low maintenance Tillandsia (Air Plants) to fabulous foliage plants including Croton, Polka Dot plants, Song of India plants and variegated ivy.

img_50591

Our Tools of the Trade section features the top quality, professional grade tools we use every day at the farm including trowels, forks, pruners, hoes and spades. We also include a selection of hats, gloves, and caddies for carrying tools and harvesting vegetables.

3-hummingbird-feeder

Our array of gift items ranges from hummingbird feeders and imperial vases to stationery,  compact field guides, and California-made botanical lotions and body products.

2-prayer-plant-and-tea-cups_store

Store staff made it a priority again this year to bring in items that are made in the United States. The store is filled with the vibrant and playful colors of decorative art poles, magnetic mailbox covers, and art planters that are all made in America. The planters come in an array of playful colors and designs created by artists including Mary Engelbreit. The frost-proof, fade-proof pots are equipped with raised bottoms for drainage and wheels on the bottom that make it easy to move them around on the patio or indoors. Choose one as a great gift for Mother’s Day or buy a group to display outdoors all season long. A variety of birdhouses include new styles made using reclaimed wood.

7-harvest-basket-or-tool-caddy

As springtime makes its somewhat tardy appearance here in the Northeast, the outdoor spaces surrounding the store are slowly but surely being populated with flowering shrubs and trees.

10-andromeda_store
Red-flowering Andromeda shrubs blossom outside the store in Morris.

There are lovely red-flowering Andromeda, and yellow-flowering forsythia bushes, and as we were writing this, a cartload of hydrangea standards arrived to join the neat rows of evergreen shrubs and ornamental trees that are waiting for new homes.

img_8578

Cold hardy perennials are also in stock with more arriving daily. You’ll find Hellebores, Jacob’s Ladder, Dianthus (Pinks), Allium, Columbine, Delosperma, shown above, and many more.

This season’s Calendar is crowded with activities including our 12th Annual Great Tomato Festival on May 19-21, and our 3rd Annual Container Planting Make & Take Event. For the complete list, see our Lectures & Events listing.

img_5063
Decorative welcome mats and bird baths, a variety of birdhouses including some made using reclaimed wood, a range of houseplants including Begonias, Sansevieria, and Croton, and Dahlia tubers all await visitors to the store.

In addition to the great plants and other items you’ll find at the store, there’s one attraction that always makes any visit worthwhile, and that is our staff. Experienced gardeners all, they are friendly and knowledgeable, and they delight in sharing what they know and helping customers succeed in their own gardens. They can answer questions, solve problems, provide landscape solutions, and even help carry plants and supplies to your car. (A delivery service is also available. Just ask!) So bring your questions and cell phone photos of your garden. Our staff will delight in helping you create the garden of your dreams.

store-staff_2

The White Flower Farm Store and display gardens are at 167 Litchfield Road in Morris, CT. Our hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily during the gardening season. If you’re looking for a particular item, please call before driving any distance to verify that we have it in stock. Our inventory is constantly changing. Phone 860-567-8789. We look forward to seeing you!

9-forsythia
Yellow-flowering forsythia shrubs await their new homes.

Please note: The Store will close at 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 16th.