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White Flower Farm Growing Instructions

Planting & Care  
Cultural Guides

We send a detailed Cultural Instructions booklet with every plant and bulb order. You may read our general online Planting & Care instructions to get your garden off to the right start. Our online Cultural Guides offer information about specific plants and bulbs, or technique, such as our guide to composting or seed-starting.

New! Preplanned gardens. We've commissioned a series of garden plans that we will be posting here during the month of January.

The first are PDFs, printable drawings with plant lists. Download to view online, print, or save to your own computer.

1. A Sunny Border in Cool Colors is a perennial border in shades of blue, purple, lavender, cream, white, gray, and silver. Suggested dimensions, 11' by 24'. For full sun.

2. A Mixed Border of perennials and shrubs peaks in late summer, with Hydrangea, Buddleias, and a Rose complementing Echinacea (Coneflower), Liatris (Blazing Star), and other perennials. Shades of purple, blue, and rose; suggested dimensions, 10' by 24'. For full sun.

3. A Medley of Groundcovers for partial shade. Turn a shady corner of your garden into an oasis of lush foliage and calming colors. Suggested dimensions, 10' by 20', for partial or dappled shade.

Winter protection: what is it, when to apply it. Details below.

Download an article explaining how to plant Daffodils to create a meadow effect! Written by Wayne Winterrowd, a Vermont-based gardener and writer. Reprinted with permission from The Gardener magazine.

We also offer some of our booklets and information in an alternate format. You may download PDFs of some of our booklets (see index below). Holiday, Spring, Fall, and Seed-starting instructions. PDFs may be read online, but are set up in a printer-friendly format so it's easy to make your own paper copies for reference. (See Tips on using PDFs, below). Please note: some of the files are large and may take a few moments to download.

Fall 2003
Cultural Instructions in PDF Format

  • Fall 2003 Cultural Instruction Booklet
    (very large file, for high-speed web connections only)
    For visitors with dial-up internet connections, we've broken the big fall instruction booklet into more manageable chunks below:

Spring 2003
Cultural Instructions in PDF Format

Holiday 2002

Seed-Starting, How-To -- PDF of a 12-page booklet

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.

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.

November 4, 2003


Using Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®

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