After a long drive from Cape Cod, we arrived at White Flower Farm in Connecticut less than two hours before they would close. Even with limited time to explore the five acres of grounds and gardens, for me the visit was one of the best parts of our wonderful, week-long vacation. I learned that White Flower Farm takes its name from the Moon Garden which occupies the original site of an all-white garden, the first perennial border built by the owners in the 1930's. We took a self-guided walking tour and our first stop was the shade garden (shown in the picture above) with its shade-loving perennials and annuals. There is a cottage garden nearby, but like mine, it is not at its best with the extreme heat and dryness of this summer, so I didn't take pictures: A good reason to return from April through June to see the spring bulbs and early flowering perennials there. The shade-loving plants were thriving, of course ....
The display gardens contain a changing combination of bulbs, perennials and annuals.
|Hydrangea 'Preziosa' in the Display Gardens|
I loved the wide, dry-stone walls marking the boundaries of beds and borders. In the display gardens, the use of white pyramid trellises add vertical interest. A marvelous European beech, Fagus sylvatica, spreads its stately branches nearby.
|Shades of Yellow|
By far the most stunning garden at White Flower Farm is the Lloyd Border. It is named for one of my heroes, Christopher Lloyd, plantsman and garden writer. A signed copy of his book The Cottage Garden, is my gardening bible. The border was designed by Fergus Garrett, head gardener of Lloyd's estate, Great Dixter. It is 280 feet long by 20 feet deep and contains more than 3,000 individual bulbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, and annuals that they began planting in the fall of 2001. A slate walkway runs along the front of the border and a hedge of European Beech forms the backdrop.
|The Lloyd Border|
|Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' (bottom left)|
Of course, I came away with many new ideas for my own garden. I will add some of their elegant delphiniums this fall. Also, some summer-blooming allium to supplement my spring-flowering 'Globe Master.' 'Millenium' is a bee magnet in this garden.
|Delphinium elatum 'Dasante Blue'|
|Delphinium 'Centurion Gentian Blue'|
|The allium plants were full of bees|
I have a spot for Smokebush 'Royal Purple' now that my shade garden is no longer in shade since the silver maple is gone (another posting.)
|Smokebush Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple"|
|Sea Holly Eryngium (may be 'Jade Frost')|
As always, this year I started many zinnias from seed, but for the first time for years I don't have 'Zowie Yellow Flame.' I just forgot it and the fabulous show in the Lloyd Border reminded me. Next year ...
|Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame'|
This is the year I fell in love with canna lilies. Last spring I planted ones I purchased from White Flower Farm in containers around my patio and I'm pleased with the result. I hope to overwinter the rhizomes in the basement and keep them for many years.
|Canna 'Australia' behind Zinnia 'Zowie'|
Finally, we visited the hoop greenhouse which holds their collection of sumptuous Blackmore and Langdon Tuberous Begonias, the product of over 100 years of selective breeding. They were in peak bloom, but we were out of time, so I couldn't do them justice with my camera as a gardener waited impatiently to lock the greenhouse doors.
I can't wait to return to White Flower Farm. Meanwhile I am busy perusing their catalogue to put some of those new ideas into practice.
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