Category Archives: Garden Design

Cape Primrose 'Grape Ice'

Our Staff Favorites for Holiday Gifting (and Receiving!)

Each year, we ask a handful of our staff members to choose their favorite gifts from among our holiday offerings. Some select classic, tried-and-true treasures including our bestselling Canella Berry Wreath or Basket, premium Amaryllis, or fragrant Lily-of-the-Valley. Others cannot resist the lure of the new, and they select one of the season’s latest discoveries. We hope some of these favorites help you select some of your own for giving and receiving. If you have questions or could use some assistance with your shopping, email us at [email protected], phone 1-800-411-6159, or opt into live chat on our website. Order soon. Supplies of some of these gifts are limited.

Read some of the reasons these are our favorites:

Tiny Trumpets Bulb Collection
Tiny Trumpets Bulb Collection

NEW! Tiny Trumpets Bulb Collection
“I am so excited, I cannot wait to see this bloom in my house! What a treat to see my favorite colors blooming together while winter weather is knocking at my window.”
Alyson

Canella Berry Table Basket
Canella Berry Table Basket

Canella Berry Table Basket
“I received it about a week before Christmas last year, watered as instructed and placed it on a corner end table in my living room. The fresh scent filled the room but was not overbearing. I left it out until March. Still not losing any of its fresh scent, I did not toss it out but put in it on a tray in a hall walk-in closet and cannot believe that after almost a year, it still has its fresh scent. I open that closet everyday just to smell it. I LOVE THIS THING.”
Donna

Amaryllis 'Aphrodite'
Amaryllis ‘Aphrodite’

Amaryllis ‘Aphrodite’
“This Amaryllis is a beauty; and the name speaks for itself. I love how intricate the pink-colored veining is – it looks as though it had been painted on by an artist – and it perfectly complements the snow-white petals. The light ruffled edges and double blooms are a delight!”
Shantelle

Berger Pruning Saw
Berger Pruning Saw

Berger Pruning Saw
“This saw is great. It’s easy-open, easy-close and fits nicely in a side pocket or tool apron. I used it last spring to prune back my old and very large Butterfly Bush. It cut through 4″ diameter limbs in less than 1 minute, and cut through 1.5″ diameter branches in just 10 strokes.”
Mary V

Beech Tree at White Flower Farm

Winter Protection

As this is written in early November, it’s still too early to apply winter protection to newly-planted perennials, but it’s not too early to plan for it, if you garden in a cold-winter area (USDA Zone 6 [-10°F] or colder).

Although you might think a winter mulch keeps plants warm, it’s intended to do the opposite—to keep the ground frozen, instead of repeatedly thawing and refreezing. That freeze-thaw seesaw can heave lightly-rooted plants right out of the ground, leaving their roots vulnerable to freezing or drying out fatally. Perennials planted or transplanted in the fall are especially susceptible during their first winter.

Applying Mulch
Applying Mulch

To protect plants from heaving during their first winter, put a 4-6in layer of loose organic material such as straw, Oak leaves, pine needles, or evergreen boughs (cut into 1-2ft lengths) over the crowns after the ground freezes (generally in December here in Litchfield, Connecticut). Fortunately, after Dec. 25, there is a ready supply of Christmas trees to cut up for this purpose. Do not use bark mulch or other types of leaves, because these materials mat down and hold too much moisture over the crowns. Take care to avoid covering the evergreen foliage of plants such as Digitalis (Foxgloves) and Dianthus. Remove this winter cover gradually in spring when frosts become infrequent, usually at about the time Daffodils and Forsythias are in bloom.For these colder zones, we also recommend that you protect bulbs planted less than six inches deep. Again, after the ground freezes, apply a 4-6in covering of the same loose organic material over the bulbs. Because many of these smaller bulbs tend to bloom in very early spring, begin to remove the cover gradually in late winter or early spring—a bit earlier than you might for perennials.

Winter Protection
Winter Protection
Tulip 'Dream Touch'

Fall Sale! Save 20% on All Fall Planted Bulbs, Perennials & Shrubs

An extended period of mild autumn temperatures is a boon to gardeners. The soil in most parts of the country is still plenty warm, which creates ideal conditions for settling in new plants and bulbs. The comfortable weather also means it’s a fabulous time to be outdoors in the garden getting a head start on spring. To help you make some additions to your garden (and so you can help us clear out our greenhouses and the warehouse), we’re offering 20% off all fall planted bulbs and garden plants. Quantities are limited, so please order promptly. This offer ends Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Please use Coupon Code FALL20 when checking out online to activate the savings, or mention this code if you call to place your order. Discount prices will be reflected in the shopping cart during checkout. Please note, gift certificates are excluded from this sale. Click here to shop all fall plants on sale.

Tulip 'Analita'
Tulip ‘Analita’
Daffodil 'Winter Waltz'
Daffodil ‘Winter Waltz’
Papaver orientale Helen Elizabeth
Papaver orientale Helen Elizabeth

 

 

Lavender

Bring The Garden Indoors with Fragrant Houseplants

Almost everyone has experienced a moment when a certain scent – a freshly baked apple pie or the perfume worn by a favorite aunt – revives a memory and transports us to another place and time. The unique fragrances of many plants remain in our memory for a lifetime too.

Gardenia
Gardenia

Gardenias were very popular during the World War II era. A sweetly scented Gardenia corsage was considered the ultimate romantic gift and as a result, many war veterans still order the plants for their wives. Those vintage corsages may be passé now, but the Gardenia’s perfume and full-petaled white blooms are welcome outdoors in warmer climate gardens, and inside during the winter months.

Lavender 'Goodwin Creek Grey'
Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’

For centuries, the evocative scent of Lavender has been used to perfume the home, refresh the body, and rejuvenate the spirit. The herb is still a popular indoor favorite today – few people can resist touching the leaves or blossoms to release their soothing aroma. The flowers are easily dried for use in potpourri or sachets, preserving the scent for months.

Paperwhites
Paperwhites

The heady scent of Paperwhites can rekindle a variety of childhood memories. For many growing these bulbs in nothing more than water and stones was their first successful gardening project. In 2017, they remain a popular choice for forcing indoors as decoration and gifts – particularly during the holiday season. Gardeners of all ages still find them extremely easy to care for and fun to watch grow.

The Works Daffodil Mix

Bulb Planting Time is Here

Most plant growth is obvious, even to the casual observer. In spring and summer, we can see shoots, leaves, and stems burgeoning. By this time of year, that growth appears to slow, even stop. But another cycle of growth is just beginning in preparation for winter. Tucked safely – and invisibly – beneath the soil, bulbs are growing fresh new roots.

Out of sight usually means out of mind. However, you can improve the performance of your bulbs if you take a few moments to fertilize in the fall, even though it feels as though nothing new is happening in the plant world. The ideal bulb fertilizer is slow-release, lower in nitrogen (which supports leaf growth) and higher in phosphorous and potassium (to enhance roots and flowers). For centuries, bone meal was the bulb fertilizer of choice, but it’s not a complete fertilizer and may have the unfortunate consequence of attracting dogs or rodents, who digs around to try to find the tasty “bone,” so we no longer recommend it.

Apply the fertilizer as a top-dressing to your existing bulbs, or after planting new ones. You can do this now, or later in the season after you’ve cleared away spent plants.

With fertilizers, it’s important to follow label directions and apply only as much as directed. Applying more than your plants can absorb doesn’t benefit the plants, and excess nutrients can wash off into waterways, disrupting aquatic life. The best practice is to apply fertilizer with a frugal hand.

Oriental Lilium Mix - The Perfumed Garde

Your Guide to Choosing and Planting Lilies

Lilies grow form bulbs that are easy to plant and offer big rewards for your garden. Lilies add height, distinctive flower shapes, and sometimes perfume, to summer gardens. The season begins with the colorful Asiatic varieties, continues with the delightfully fragrant Orientals, and then the hybrid Orienpets, which combines the best traits of Oriental Lilies and statuesque Trumpet Lilies. To enjoy a long season of blooms, we recommend including some of each type.

Lilium Commander In Chief
Lilium Commander In Chief

Lilies produce their intriguing turk’s-cap or trumpet-shaped flowers on stems that can be graceful and arching, or sturdily upright and an inch thick. Plant heights range from 2 to 6ft or so, depending on the variety. All are elegant in perennial borders, and shorter varieties may be successfully grown in pots. Many Lilies look lovely naturalizing in sweeps, and we offer several mixes ideal for this purpose.

Plant Lilies in a cutting garden or in part of your vegetable garden so you can enjoy magnificent bouquets. A single stem in a vase makes a classic statement and Lilies also lend drama to mixed arrangements. Remove the stamens to avoid contact with the pollen (which can cause stubborn stains) and to prolong the life of the bloom.

 Lilium Arabesque

Lilium Arabesque

Thanks to modern storage facilities, most Lily bulbs are available to plant both in the spring and in the fall. Many Lilies prefer full sun but will flower in partial shade, which may help blooms to retain their color. Some of the species Lilies and their kin prefer afternoon shade, and require it in the hottest climates.

Plant Lilies in well-drained fertilize soil; they will not survive in soils that are poorly drained, especially in winter. Use a layer of mulch to keep their roots cool in summer. Feed plants with a balanced fertilizer in early spring and then again just before they start blooming. Ensure that plants receive regular moisture, especially during drought.

Pastel Shades Asiatic Lily Mix for Naturalizing
Pastel Shades Asiatic Lily Mix for Naturalizing

When all the flowers have passed, cut the stem directly below the blooms, so that as much foliage as possible is left to feed the bulb. Also, when cutting flowers for the house, keep the stems as short as possible for the same reason. Deadheading also makes the plants look neater and shortens the tall stems, so they are less likely to topple in a windstorm. After foliage dies back, cut stems off at ground level, or leave a few inches so you know where the bulbs are if you plan to do fall or spring planting around them.

Annuals Collection

Choose Your Favorite Annual Container Combinations

Dear Gardening Friends,

Every year at the farm, we create new and different combinations of annuals. We pot them up in spring and let them grow. At the end of the season, we select our favorites and offer them to you in our Spring Garden Book and on our website. This year, we thought we’d ask for your help in the selection process. Please click the link below to rate the annual collections you see based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being your favorite. Thanks for your help!

TAKE OUR SURVEY

 

White Flower Farm Classic Perennial Tulip Mixture

Plant Perennial Tulips Now and Enjoy A Glorious Spring For Years

The best way to encourage long life from your Tulip bulbs is to plant them deep. Try for a depth of 8-10 inches for full-size Tulips. That’s far deeper than any of those coring-type bulb planters will ever reach. The hand-corers also encourage repetitive motion problems if you’re planting more than half a dozen bulbs. So arm yourself with something heftier. We love our specialized bulb planters, for prepared soil or for naturalizing. The foot-powered tools dig deeper, and with far less effort, than a hand-powered one.

Tulip 'Blushing Girl'
Tulip ‘Blushing Girl’

The fastest way to plant bulbs involves two gardeners: one to dig, one to plant. To plant each bulb, create a deep slot by inserting the planting tool into the ground and pushing forward. Your assistant follows and pushes the bulb into the slot, then steps on the loose soil to push it back into place.

Tulip 'Dordogne'
Tulip ‘Dordogne’

The second tip: water when you’re finished planting. This helps settle the soil, and the moisture will trigger root growth, although it’s not obvious above ground, bulbs send out roots at this time of year, so they will be ready to burst into bloom when spring arrives.

It’s also a great idea to scatter some bulb fertilizer after you plant. We suggest a formula low in nitrogen and high in potassium for the best results.

Tulip 'Jaap Groot'
Tulip ‘Jaap Groot’

Squirrels have an uncanny ability to discover a spot where someone has very recently buried a tasty little bulb. Deep planting discourages squirrels, who rarely scratch down more than a few inches. But they might find Crocuses, since they are planted just three to five inches deep. If squirrels are a serious issue, we recommend laying a piece of hardware cloth or small-gauge poultry wire fencing over a newly planted area. You can take if off in a couple of weeks, after rain and watering has settled the soil and removed all telltale signs of planting.

Spring Calvary Collection`

Plant Exclusive Daffodil Mixes for Spectacular Spring Displays

Daffodils are usually the first flowers to make a significant statement in spring gardens. Since there are so many kinds that appear at different times, Daffodils can also be found blooming well into late spring. Daffodil mixes for naturalizing provide a long season of blossoms because they include many different types of Narcissus. As they naturalize, they will increase in number over the years. These mixes are ideal for woodlands and rock gardens, and in bedding areas.

Professional's Naturalizing Daffodil Mix
Professional’s Naturalizing Daffodil Mix

When planting Daffodils, make sure they have adequate drainage and plenty of sun, although some varieties will tolerate half-day shade. To encourage consistent Daffodil blooms, use a granular, slow-release fertilizer upon planting and then feed established bulbs in the fall. Using the right bulb planting tools will make the job a breeze. Watering during the fall is essential for good root growth before the ground freezes in cold regions. For helpful tips on planting Daffodils to create a naturalized look, please watch our video.

The Works Daffodil Mix
The Works Daffodil Mix

You can also take advantage of a wide range of Daffodils by designing areas that showcase specific colors or varieties. Be sure to plant fragrant Daffodils close to your house or anywhere their perfume will be readily appreciated.

First Blush Pink Narcissus Mixture
First Blush Pink Narcissus Mixture

Daffodils can be enjoyed equally indoors in forced bulb gardens. Set in a sunny window in a cool room, they yield a delightful tapestry of bloom during the long winter months.

Early Cheer Bulb Collection
Early Cheer Bulb Collection

Video: Learn about our New Native Garden at the Farm

You can read the video transcript for the video “Planting a Native Garden at White Flower Farm” below:

Hi, I’m Cheryl, the head gardener at White Flower Farm. Welcome to the latest addition to our display gardens here at the nursery, the native garden.

The cast of characters for this new garden is selected from the pool of plants that are native to our Connecticut region. The purpose of this garden is to provide a safe and bountiful haven for our local birds, bees, butterflies and insects.

My planning for this garden began last fall.  The first step in my design process was lots of research.  I came up with a list of native shrubs, perennials and grasses that I thought might work in my space, and using the maps in the plant database on the USDA website, I was able to determine if my chosen plants were native to Connecticut.

After paring down my initial plant idea list, a final list began to take shape.  Working my way down that list, more research allowed me to fill in the specifics about each plant, such as its light requirements, mature height and width, flower color and bloom time, and most importantly, what role that plant played in sustaining wildlife. I also made note if the plant had an aesthetic attribute like showy fruit or outstanding fall color. Not only did I want the garden to be useful for wildlife, I also wanted to create a pretty garden.

After collecting all the necessary details about each plant, I started to put the pieces of the garden together. I began with the shrub pieces to my puzzle, which created the structural bones of the garden, which could then be flushed out with perennials and grasses.

The first plants went into the ground in early May, with a few more subsequent waves of planting as the rest of the plants showed up and reported for duty. Much to my surprise my paper garden plan translated pretty well to the earth, as I only had to make a few minor adjustments in spacing as I laid out the plants. It doesn’t always go that smoothly.

I’m pleased with the progress of the new garden this first season. The plants, for the most part, have settled in and have started to flourish. I’ve begun to make a few notes and a “to do” list that I think will improve the garden going forth.  It seems I have a little too much Verbena hastata, and I need to replace some Eupatorium perfoliatum that never did quite establish. I still want to find some Coreopsis verticillata. The straight species is hard to source. In the meantime, Monarda punctata, a last-minute addition to the cast, fills in for the Coreopsis and the bees couldn’t be happier.

Why are native plants important? WIldlife and plants that share native habitats have co-evolved over time. Native plants provide food and shelter for your resident birds and insect populations. Consider creating your own native garden, or popping in a few native plants into your existing garden. Your winged and feathered friends will be most grateful.