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WHITE FLOWER FARM REVEALS THEIR HOLIDAY CUSTOMERS' MOST FREQUENT QUESTIONS
Spring bulbs may be planted and the flower borders put to sleep for the winter, but this is still a very busy time of year for the gardeners at White Flower Farm (www.whiteflowerfarm.com). More and more customers are asking both gardening and gift questions year round -- never more so than at the holidays. What are the most popular customer questions? The gardeners share the questions and the answers below.
**How long will it take for an amaryllis to bloom? Does it need special care?
Amaryllis bulbs received in the fall will bloom six to twelve weeks after you begin watering them. Each variety of amaryllis is different in the length of time it takes to produce flowers, and this can also vary depending on where the bulb was grown. Bulbs from Holland bloom later than those grown in South Africa (which are harvested earlier than Dutch bulbs and can be in flower in time for Christmas). The leaves may emerge from the bulb first or the flowering stalk may come out ahead of the leaves.
Amaryllis are easy to care for - keep them in a warm place with lots of light, and don't overwater. Home and office temperatures are generally fine for growth (70-80°F day and night is ideal). A sunny window or a place with good artificial light is best. For low light areas a stake should be used to prop up the flower stalk, as it will grow taller and may become top heavy once the flowers open. Feel the potting mix and water only when the top inch is dry (keeping the mix wet can cause the bulb or its roots to rot). There is no need to fertilize while your plant is blooming.
Short how-to videos on our web site demonstrate the simple steps for growing amaryllis.
**What are the three most popular holiday gifts from White Flower Farm? What is the last possible shipping date?
For Christmas delivery with standard shipping rates, order by 6 p.m. ET on December 18 (East Coast) or December 16 (West Coast).
1. Amaryllis is the #1 gift item at White Flower Farm. Customers know our bulbs are top-quality and will produce big, beautiful blooms. We offer a wide selection of colors and types to choose from (over 40 varieties) as well as decorative pots and glass vases.
2. Fragrant plants are also top sellers during the winter months. We grow hundreds of Jasmine in our greenhouses, timing this vining tropical plant to arrive budded and ready for blooming. Its elegant white flowers have a sweet perfume that carries lightly through the house.
3. We also shape Lavender 'Goodwin Creek' into a bushy houseplant with silvery foliage and light lavender blooms. Touching the foliage or flowers releases the soothing aroma of lavender and this variety thrives indoors year round.
** Do you have a gift suggestion for an apartment dweller with little space and only partial sunlight?
Our potted Lily-of-the-Valley thrives in low light and will bloom about 3 weeks after arrival. Two relatives of the African Violet, Cape Primrose 'Blue Mars' and Streptocarpella 'Concord Blue', make excellent houseplants in bright but indirect sunlight. Spring bulbs potted and prepared to bloom indoors, such as our Ice Blue Elegance combination of white tulips and grape hyacinths, are perfect for small spaces. Just water and watch them grow, then discard after flowering.
***I'd like to give my very picky relative a special gardening gift. What would you suggest?
A White Flower Farm Gift certificate is perfect for anyone whose tastes you might not know. He or she can choose exactly the right gift from our large selection of perennials, annuals, shrubs, vines, fruits and vegetables, and gardening accessories. The gift certificate will arrive with a copy of our colorful and informative catalogue, with many new items included.
The all-purpose scissors from Joyce Chen are another perfect present. They are one of our favorite tools for both the garden and the kitchen -- lightweight, very sharp, comfortable to use, and with bright red handles, easy to find.
**How can I get my kids more involved in gardening? Do you offer child-size gardening kits?
One way to interest children in gardening is to pick an easy project to do with them during winter, such as forcing Paperwhite bulbs in water and stones (4-6 weeks), potting an Amaryllis bulb and watching it send out leaves and flower stalks (8-10 weeks); or doing the same with Lily-of-the-Valley pips (3-4 weeks). Your children may enjoy eating fresh sprouts on sandwiches or in salads if you let them start the seeds themselves using a countertop sprouter in the kitchen. Seeds are a great introduction to the plant world - in late spring plant some sunflower seeds indoors in small pots with your children. They can watch as the seedlings emerge. Once the weather and soil is warm, show them how to transplant and care for the seedlings outside. During spring and summer, let them help you weed, plant, fertilize, and mulch. Or give them a small piece of your border, or even a large container, where they can create their own garden. No kits are necessary!
**I keep reading about indoor gardening. What does that mean anyway? Is it messy? Can you do it all year?
Indoor gardening simply means growing plants inside your home. There are many choices to suit the particular light conditions in your home or apartment, from houseplants with colorful flowers or leaves, herbs for cooking, to plants that prefer a terrarium (a glass structure that provides extra humidity). Caring for plants is relaxing and can provide benefits such as aromatherapy. Indoor gardening can be as clean or messy as you like depending on your plants, the pots they are grown in, and how much care they require. It can be an enjoyable activity year round, regardless of the weather outside.
Barb Pierson, the nursery manager at White Flower Farm, is available for interviews upon request, as are other experts.
Please contact: Deborah Broide,
Deborah Broide Publicity,
White Flower Farm is a family-owned nursery located in northwest Connecticut. Since 1950, they have been gathering, evaluating, growing, and selling a wide range of annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, bulbs, and houseplants representing the very best varieties from around the world. Plants shipped are true to name, free of disease, and in prime condition for growing. While in the area, stop by White Flower Farm with its five acres of display gardens, or visit www.whiteflowerfarm.com, where you will also find helpful gardening information including a how-to video library. Join our E-mail list for gardening advice and tips, From the Farm monthly newsletter, announcement of events at the White Flower Farm Store, and special offers not in our catalogues or on our Web site. White Flower Farm -- we make your garden grow.