Display Gardens

The White Flower Farm Store & Display Gardens Open April 1st, 2021

Hours of operation: Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Store & Display Gardens are closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The display gardens are filled with colorful sweeps of annuals, perennials, and container plantings. As you stroll the grounds, we hope you’ll draw inspiration from our 280-foot Lloyd Border; the Rose garden, which showcases a wide variety of Roses and their preferred companion plants; the kitchen garden; and our Dahlia trial garden. (The expansive Dahlia bed will be at its best from late summer into early fall when these gorgeous flowers are at their peak.)

The offerings at the White Flower Farm Store are constantly changing. If you are looking for something specific, please call ahead to make sure we have it before driving any distance. You’ll find us at 860-567-8789.

Many of our staff members are dog lovers, but we regret that dogs are not welcome on farm property, which includes the store, the parking areas, and the display gardens. Thank you for your consideration.

Map of White Flower Farm Display Gardens

We've created a self-guided walking tour to highlight the grounds and gardens, and give a bit of insight into the history and operation of the nursery. The numbered stops on the map inside begin at the main parking lot and end at the retail store.

The house on the north side of Esthers Lane was a barn when two New York City writers, William Harris and Jane Grant, purchased the 1⅓-acre lot upon which it sat in the late 1930s. These industrious weekenders wasted no time in renovating the barn into a country residence. They then turned their energies to the landscape. Initially, all they wanted was a proper lawn and a small garden to supply cut flowers. But for Harris and Grant, as they preferred to be called, their avocation soon became an obsession, and before long they started a plant nursery. White Flower Farm takes its name from their first perennial border, the all-white garden known as the Moon Garden, which still occupies its original site. Elsewhere on the property are now several other gardens and attractions, which have been developed under the ownership of the Wadsworth family, owners of White Flower Farm since 1975. Visitors are invited to stroll the White Flower Farm Display Gardens during store hours. Here is a brief summary of what you’ll see:

1 Shade Garden This garden is filled with color and texture from minor spring bulbs, summer-blooming Hydrangea ‘Blue Billow,’ and many shade-loving perennials including Hellebores and Bleeding Hearts, as well as colorful annuals. On the way to stop #2, be sure to take in the Hosta planting that lines Esthers Lane. It dates back to 1963.

 

2 Cottage Garden Set in the crook of a Cape-style house that dates to 1756 and is the oldest structure on the property, this garden is most colorful from April through June, with spring bulbs and early-flowering perennials. Of special note are the large Honeysuckle vines that frame the end of the porch and a specimen planting of Kirengeshoma for late color in the shade. Sweet Autumn Clematis covers the stone wellhead on the west side.

 

3 Rose Garden & European Beech As you walk down the hill, you’ll come upon our charming Rose Garden. Bisected by a flagstone path and wrought iron arches, the garden is at its height of beauty in June with a superb display of colorful and often fragrant Roses and their preferred companion plants along winding stone paths. Stop and take notice of the quilted bark on our handsome Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana before gazing in the distance upon our stately, spreading European Beech (Fagus sylvatica). Longtime White Flower Farm horticulturalist David Smith used to enjoy retelling the story of how he planted this Beech in 1958. It was a 7' tall whip no thicker than his thumb. We should all look this good in middle age.

 

4 Begonia House & Trial Garden A hoop-style greenhouse holds our collection of exquisite Blackmore & Langdon Tuberous Begonias. These plants are the product of over 100 years of selective breeding. We are honored to be the sole American importer of these treasures from Great Britain. Peak bloom runs from July to September. Next door is our Trial Garden, which was first installed in the summer of 2020 with more than 130 Dahlia varieties and will be filled with Dahlias again for 2021. The trial bed gives us an opportunity to test and photograph an array of new and underused plants, and it offers visitors the opportunity to choose favorites for their own gardens as well as an opportunity to take some great photographs.

 

5 Lloyd Border Walk south along the Lloyd Border, which is named in honor of the late English plantsman and garden writer Christopher Lloyd, whose renowned garden at Great Dixter, remains a destination for garden lovers. Our border was designed by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter. The planting began in the fall of 2001. The border is 280' long by 20' deep and contains more than 3,000 individual bulbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, and annuals from roughly 200 genera. A slate walkway frames the front of the border and a hedge of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) forms the backdrop. Notice how blocks of plants are repeated for a sense of cohesion, large shrubs are moved forward for an element of surprise, and colors echo each other from plant to plant. The Lloyd Border evolves over the course of each growing season, with plenty of attractions at every stage—from the first spring-flowering bulbs to early blooming perennials and shrubs then on to summer’s stars and autumn’s glorious colors. We encourage you to visit often through the season to enjoy the changing flower and foliage show and to take away inspiration and planting ideas, as well as simple tips to utilize in your own garden.

 

6 Tree Peony Grove/Siberian Iris/Native Garden Tree Peonies have been treasured in China for at least 1,500 years—mature shrubs may carry 50 blooms measuring 8-10" across. They are worth a visit during their peak in late May and early June. The entrance to this “secret garden” is framed by a grove of old-time Lilacs. The Tree Peonies are underplanted with an assortment of ephemeral spring woodland perennials such as Phlox divaricata, Bergenia, Brunnera, and Pulmonaria, among others. As you continue along the path and stonewall that parallel Route 63, you will pass our collection of Siberian Iris called Wings Over Water. These rugged and reliable plants bloom in June. Next, you’ll find a sampling of native plants, which are low-maintenance and water-wise for gardeners while providing food and shelter for an assortment of pollinators.

 

7 Shade Garden & Display Gardens Changing combinations of bulbs, perennials, and annuals appear here each year, and we hope you’ll come away with new ideas for your own garden. Visit early in the season to catch our displays of Tulips and Daffodils. From June to October, you’ll see a wide variety of pollinator-friendly plants. And from high summer to fall, you’ll find a dramatic planting of hard-to-find annuals.

 

8 The Store The White Flower Farm Store offers many of the plants listed in the catalog and online, but not all. We also sell a variety of plants, that are not available on our website. You’ll find a wide array of Roses, over 30 varieties of Clematis, unusual shade plants, and native pollinator plants as well as a wide assortment of hard-to-find shrubs and classic garden favorites. Inside the store, we’re pleased to offer a terrific selection of the top quality, handcrafted tools, garden wear, and containers we use here at the farm, plus gifts for all occasions, garden accessories, and indoor plants. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is always delighted to help. Bring us your questions (including cell phone photos of the areas you’re working on in your yard), and let us help you create the garden of your dreams.