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Down on the Farm -- The Solstitial Update From the Farm
Allium 'Globemaster' in the Lloyd Border

Oriental Poppies come in a range of colors, all stunning.
Oriental Poppies come in a range of colors, all stunning.

Roses and Clematis make good companions in summer borders.
Roses and Clematis make good companions in summer borders.

June isn't complete without the huxurious blooms of Peonies
June isn't complete without the luxurious blooms of Peonies.

For an introduction to Irises, try our 6-plant reblooming collection.
For an introduction to Irises, try our 6-plant reblooming collection.

Dear Gardening Friend,

This is a magical time of year, with first light and birdsong starting around 5 a.m., and walks in the garden still possible without a flashlight after 9 p.m. We tend to run out of gas in mid-afternoon, especially on the hot days, and find a shady spot in which to "reflect" for half an hour. But there is plenty of time to feast on the glories of the June garden, which include Poppies, Peonies, Iris, Kousa Dogwoods, and the best of the salad greens. The lead-up to June was, this year, something of a roller coaster ride, with stifling heat interrupted by hard frost. Roses in particular came on early, dodged the cold, and were unruffled by a few tropical downpours and one blustery front that scattered twigs over the lawns.

It's a natural instinct, with your gardens at their peak, to assume that the time for planting has passed, but that's a mistake and here's why:

The long days of June offer the best opportunity to identify areas for improvement in your borders, and to acquire inspiration from other gardens in your neighborhood. We have, from time to time, asked to borrow a bloom or two from a neighbor, then brought it home to hold up next to a possible companion in our own garden, the surest possible test of color compatibility.

While early summer air temperatures swing dramatically between high and low, soil temperatures, which are a KEY determinant in successful transplanting, change much more slowly and will normally remain quite hospitable until July where we live, even longer near the coast.

MOST IMPORTANT - The miraculous combination of UPS delivery, our dedicated greenhouse growers, and proven packaging techniques mean that we can deliver a broad selection of healthy, happy plants to you in prime condition for transplanting right on through the month of June. While stocks are now abundant, there are sellouts as the summer progresses, and we will keep our Web site current. Our customer service staff knows exactly what's on hand and how fast we can turn your order around. For the record, orders received in June are almost always shipped the next business day, the only exceptions being stretches of extreme heat.

The point of this slightly formal recitation is to remind you, in the most emphatic way, that IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ORDER and we look forward to meeting your needs at a speed that will amaze you.

White Flower Farm

If you must miss our sale, save 30% on select perennials online now.
If you must miss our sale, save 30% on select perennials online now.

Don your best garden hat from a chance to win a gift certificate.
Don your best garden hat for a chance to win a gift certificate.
Meet Blackmore and Langdon, experts at mowing lawns and hay fields.
Meet Blackmore and Langdon, experts at mowing lawns and hay fields.

Enjoy a chat with our family and staff before relaxing on the lawn.
Enjoy a chat with our family and staff before relaxing on the lawn.

Saturday, June 26 is the day we welcome old friends and new to enjoy iced tea and cucumber sandwiches on the lawn by our house. The feed, which is gratis, is put together by our family, with a little assistance in the cookie department from Pepperidge Farm. We start serving at 2:30, continue until the grub runs out. In recent years, the ambiance has been enlivened by a competition for the best lady's garden hat, the winner receiving a perfectly enormous gift certificate and an announcement in next month's newsletter. It's a very agreeable get together, and normally includes a cameo appearance by our team of Shire horses plus the slobbery good humor of our dogs.

The plant sale, which is our means of clearing out unsold spring inventory to make room for the fall and holiday season, starts on Thursday, the 24th and will continue until the shelves are picked bare or close of business on Saturday. We've had decent spring sales, so it's impossible to predict which perennials and shrubs will be on offer, but the plants will all be top quality and the discounts sufficient to encourage improvidence, which is the whole point.

Of course, the gardens will be in very good nick, with the Lloyd Border just refreshed by a selection of annuals that succeed the spring-flowering bulbs. Equally spectacular, our display of Blackmore and Langdon Tuberous Begonias will be approaching full bloom. It's a show often described as "unbelievable," an over-worked term that does fit in this case. For those who believe that local food is better food, a visit to our vegetable trial garden will be of interest, and we’ll offer a sheet to sign up for information about our naturally raised Angus beef, with this year's crop prominently on display in the pasture across the road.

Finally, of course, the town of Litchfield is itself a treasure, with a superb selection of colonial and Federal houses arrayed along the main street. The oaks and maples planted to replace the elms lost in the 70s have now achieved real scale, and make a graceful frame for the architecture. It's well worth the easy drive from either Boston or New York, and we very much look forward to seeing you.

Amos Pettingill

P.S. Save the date of September 25 for a garden talk at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, New York by renowned British horticulturist and author, Adrian Bloom. White Flower Farm is proud to co-sponsor this event. To order a copy of Mr. Bloom's just-released book, Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses: Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens, click here.

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