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Down on the Farm -- This Year's Garden
Our Bulb Catalogue is now live online
 


Discovering signs of new life is the best spring tonic we know.
Discovering signs of new life is the best spring tonic we know.


Careful packing assures your plants arrive in top condition.
Careful packing assures your plants arrive in top condition.


The Butterfly Buffet is perfect for an area with 6-8 hours of sun.
The Butterfly Buffet is perfect for an area with 6-8 hours of sun.


Add colorful flowers or foliage to shade with long-lasting perennials.
Add colorful flowers or foliage to shade with long-lasting perennials.


Our Emerald Isle Hostas create a rugged, weed-free ground cover.
Our Emerald Isle Hostas create a
rugged, weed-free ground cover.


Short on space? Grow the Coleus Confetti collection in a large pot.
Short on space? Grow the Coleus Confetti collection in a large pot.




Order select perennials by the 3s or 6s and save 20%.
Order select perennials by the
3s or 6s and save 20%.



Dear Gardening Friend,

Sometime in the next few weeks, most of us will begin creeping around the edges of our gardens, peering into plant crowns looking for green shoots, checking woody stems for swelling buds, and tugging at spent foliage or scratching bark on branches to assess damage or losses. It’s a heady time of year for the horticulturally inclined, also a stage of the gardening year that hugely rewards reflection, research, planning, and patience. Spring is the best time to determine where your garden could use color from bulbs, and that’s why we’ve posted our new bulb catalogue online in March. As your garden awakens, use its pages as your guide and have some fun imagining what spring could look like next year. We’ll deliver your order at the right time for planting in the fall, with complete instructions enclosed.

With a lot of springs behind us, perhaps we are qualified to offer a little coaching on the process of gardening, as follows.

The array of gardening information, inspiration, and instruction now available on the Internet is truly astonishing. Our own Web site is as clear and thorough as we know how to make it (organized under Gardening Help, with a "Growing Guide" for individual items), but reflects our life’s experience in a Zone 5 climate with acid soil and 45 inches of rain a year. When we deliver advice about other climates, it’s 3rd party intelligence, always worth confirming with local resources of your own.

All of the same compliments and caveats apply to plant sellers. We are New England based, grow most of the plants we sell, ship from a temperature-controlled distribution center run by people who have been at this game for decades, and unconditionally guarantee everything we sell. We may not be a unique resource, but we ARE one heck of a good one. Until you have tried us, you will have a hard time believing how good our plants and service really are. To find out directly from our customers, check the product reviews on our Web site.

Unless you are starting from scratch, there is already a garden in place that provides your starting point. If you were pleased with last year’s performance, bear in mind that no garden remains the same from year to year even if the proprietor keeps hands off. That’s simply not the way that nature does things. So, you will have the pleasure of making small adjustments and refinements, adding new plants or replacing losses, perhaps improving the soil with organic top dressing, adding a trellis for a vertical accent, and generally fussing over creative details. If there is a more delightful way to spend time, we have yet to find it, and we would strongly recommend that you review with care either our spring offering, our new online bulb catalogue, or perhaps both, to discover a nearly bottomless supply of new ideas that you can incorporate in your plan with one or two clicks of the mouse.

If last year’s garden was a disappointment, NOW is the time to make a new plan, leaving plenty of time for reflection before implementation begins in earnest. The best way to start this process is to get your facts in order, a recommendation that recalls the now-departed Senator Moynihan, who advised his Senate peers that, “In debate, we are entitled to our own opinions but we are not entitled to our own facts." The facts you need to come to grips with are these:

-- Your site's properties. These include summer and winter temperatures, sun, drainage, soil character, availability of water, and ease of access. Because trees and shrubs keep growing, microclimates change, and soil degrades with careless husbandry and acid rain, you may be surprised to find that your site is not today exactly what it was 5 years ago.

-- Your schedule. The realities of your schedule dictate when and how much you are able to garden, and when you are at home or away. While these limitations are subject to change, you ignore them at your peril.

-- Your design taste. We understand that people who are perfectly comfortable furnishing an elegant living room, or creating an attractive outfit for a party, or choosing among 36 flavors of ice cream, even writing a clear and expressive paragraph of English, are suddenly paralyzed by the prospect of combining plants to create a garden. But the truth is that if you know what you like, you can create a garden that will please you, and no one else’s opinion really matters.

-- Your budget. One must respect the resources available while also emphasizing that plants are generally not expensive, often last a long time, and provide joy and recreation, self-expression, and education almost beyond calculation. Yes, we have heard the argument that a beautiful garden also enhances the value of a property but respectfully decline to think in those terms when describing the magic of gardening. If you are willing to reallocate the price of dinner for four at a white linen restaurant, you can buy enough gardening to keep you very happily employed all summer.

The hard part, as with so many things, is to make a start and, of course, the simple solution is to begin NOW, then give the process a little time. Do not expect perfection or permanence. What you are doing, when you garden, is creating and the act of creation is, for all but the great masters, more important than the creation itself. There is no process we have ever found that is more agreeable in the contemplation, the execution, and the result. The body and mind are active, the senses are fully engaged, and both you and the planet are better off.

   
  Tomatoes  
 

Learn how easy it is to grow Tomatoes in containers - click here.
Learn how easy it is to grow
Tomatoes in containers - click here.

Make your own fresh salsa with our collection of plants and seeds.
Make your own fresh salsa with our collection of plants and seeds.

Browse all our vegetables, including 40 varieties of Peppers.
Browse all our vegetables, including
40 varieties of Peppers.


 
HOW TO HAVE SUCCESS WITH TOMATOES


Last summer was a rough one for those of us who cherish fresh Tomatoes warm and sweet off our own vines. A cold, wet start to summer was compounded by the onset of Tomato blight, a deadly pathogen that came to the Northeast on plants imported by mass merchants, then spread like wildfire from one garden to the next. This combination of elements will almost certainly not repeat in 2010. In fact, most long-range forecasts suggest a hot, dry summer, which is ideal for Tomatoes. Accordingly, we hope that no one will internalize one bad season as reason to abandon the absolute best of edible crops.

Here's a short summary of our tips for growing Tomatoes:

Buy healthy, pest-free plants from a reliable supplier who can vouch for their origins. For the record, we grow 130 varieties of modern and heirloom Tomatoes from seed sown in our own greenhouses. These plants are delivered to you at the right time for planting and we NEVER ship a plant we would not buy ourselves.

Pick a site with plenty of sun, good air movement, and rich, friable soil. Turn the ground over at least twice as the soil warms and remove all weeds, especially Tomato seedlings that may be volunteers from last year’s dropped fruit. Further encourage light and air movement by open spacing and by staking plants.

Avoid overhead watering or handling Tomato plants when they are wet, since both practices can help transmit any diseases in the area.

While your mind is on the subject, and your salivary glands are active, why not click here and make your selections right now? Early orders are assured of getting the full range of varieties.

   
   
 

Shasta Daisy 'Banana Cream' is one of our favorite new perennials. Shasta Daisy 'Banana Cream' is one
of our favorite new perennials.


Enjoy color all summer from WFF exclusive annual collections.
Enjoy color all summer from WFF exclusive annual collections.
 
CELEBRITY PLANTS

There seems to be a lot of media attention being devoted to two recent introductions to the world of shrubs. One is Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit™ and the other is Lilac Bloomerang™. Both are excellent plants, handsome and long blooming, that you may inspect more fully by clicking on their names. Neither was invented here, but we do have both in stock and will be pleased to meet your needs while supplies last. It is sometimes true that new plants are mostly hype and not much performance, but this pair deserves the attention they are getting. Give them a look.

We're just as enamored of the less famous newcomers on our spring list, including 300 ornamentals, edibles, and colorful annual combinations for containers designed and trialed by us. Click here to watch nursery manager Barb Pierson demonstrate how to plant the Hummingbird Annual Collection; the same principles of planting and care also apply to our other annual combinations.


   
  White Flower Farm Store  
 

OUR STORE


The garden store at our nursery opens for business in early April. Opening day weather is hard to predict, but the depth and quality of the inventory, the disposition of our service staff, and the beauty of our display gardens are not. All three will be superb -- click here for directions. We look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,
Amos Pettingill

P.S. For more information on growing edibles, perennials, shrubs and other plants we offer, please visit the Gardening Help section of our Web site for how-to videos, articles and tips, and an A-Z list of Growing Guides.

 
 

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
Look for the product review and 5-star rating feature. You can comment on every product we offer and read what other gardeners have to say. To tell us what you like and don't like, click the "Write a Review" link on any product page, located just under the item's photo and also at the bottom of the page.

White Flower Farm
P.O. Box 50
Litchfield, CT 06759
1-800-503-9624
(c)2010 White Flower Farm, Inc.





Hydrangea arborescens Invincibelle™ Spirit Reblooming Lilac Syringa Bloomerang™
 
 
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