Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Visit to White Flower Farm

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 ....

Shade-loving Plants

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.

Display Gardens
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'
Allium 'Millenium'
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. 

Happy Gardening!

Pamela x

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

English Cottage Garden Style for July GBBD - Five Years Later

An English Cottage Garden Is ...

“... above all things a place of uncontrived beauty, 
easily enjoyed, where labour is well rewarded 
and quiet pleasures satisfied.”

Ethne Clarke and Clay Perry
 English Country Gardens

It's almost eleven years since I began to realize my dream of creating an Engish cottage garden in the Poconos. On Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, July 2011 I wrote, "One of the elements of English cottage-garden style is a profusion of flowers in a variety of colors and textures. The overall effect appears 'uncontrived,' but in reality a great deal of thought goes into the choice and placement of plants. My garden has been six years in the making, and this year (for the first time) I feel I have achieved the effect I have been striving to create." I am redoing the 2011 posting with updated pictures to see how the dream continues. I note where I'm using the original photographs of those flowers still strutting their stuff. The words in bold/italics are from the original posting. It is quite difficult to define English cottage-garden style without going into its history, but some other elements include planting old-fashioned flowers, adding structures to create 'privacy,' using lots of pots of plants, making informal pathways, and using 'whimsy' to give a sense of enchantment. I went outside with my camera this morning to record what is blooming on this  Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day July 2011 and that's when it struck me that at last I have an English cottage garden. Please take a walk with me to see if those elements are really present ...

1) Plant for profusion

This is my biggest herbaceous border, filled with purple cone flower, liatris, gooseneck loosestrife, shasta dasies, and daylilies - to name a few of the perennials. More recently I removed the liatris to the entrance garden (first picture) and planted bee balm in the main border (below) ...

As soon as you enter our driveway you can see from the butterfly garden by the house-number sign that I plant for profusion. H.H. put a birdhouse on the back of the post that displays the house number.

Purple cone flower, milkweed, cleome, liatris and white phlox

2) Plant old-fashioned flowers

David Austin Rose Rosa 'Lichfield Angel"
Left to right: Goats Beard, Cleome, Yarrow 'The Pearl', delphinium, purple cone flower
Shasta Daisy Leucanthemum (photo 2011)
Lambs' Ears Stachys byzantina (photo 2011)
Phlox Paniculata 'Bright Eyes' (photo 2011)
Veronica -- I forget which one -- added last year
Campanula 'Cherry Bells'
I planted hollyhocks since the original posting

Hollyhocks are a 'must have' for an English cottage garden, so I am making them my July pick for 'Dozen for Diana.' Visit Diana's blog at Elephant's Eye on False Bay in South Africa and join in the fun.

2) Add structures such as picket fences and arbors.

The arbor into the kitchen garden has two wonderful clematis draped over it ...

Clematis Jackmanii 'Tie Dye'

The cedar fence at the back of the shade garden provides privacy and adds a vertical element to the space.

Climbing hydrangea grows over the fence and mock hydrangea over the swing

3) Pots of plants

One of many pots of annuals ...

The unusual red flower with the pointed petals is a petunia that I grew from seeds that Nancy Ondra sent me. Nancy blogs at Hayefield.

Petunia exserta, marigold and bacoba in a tub in front of the hydrangea

I display several hanging baskets. This one H.H. bid for and won at a silent auction when we were at the Pocono Garden Club Flower Show where I was guest speaker.

4) Informal pathways

The destination at the end of this pathway is a grouping of planters and an ivy in a birdcage. You will find a birdcage containing ivy in many English cottage gardens.

 5) Whimsy to create enchantment

I like to hang mirrors on fences ...

In the last five years I've added several fairy gardens. My latest whimsical creation is a simple basket on a gate containing a cute unicorn and fairy that H.H. found at the thrift store.

Miniature hosta, sedum and fairy on moss

In the collage below, some other flowers blooming in my garden on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day are (clockwise from top right) milkweed, hydrangea, coreopsis, perennial geranium, and lavender.

Photographs 2011 - similar blooms today

Here are some of the daylilies blooming today ...

The pond is looking quite lovely surrounded by cottage garden flowers ...

Looking across the main border to the pond and the rose garden.

I hope this combination of two postings isn't too confusing.  Go to the original post by clicking here and compare the pictures today with those five years ago. Do you agree my dreams of creating an English cottage garden in Pennsylvania have been realized?

Thank you, Carol, for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on your wonderful blog. On the 15th of each month, I look forward to visiting May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming around the world.

Happy GBBD, everyone!

Pamela x

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing you a Happy July Fourth holiday from my red, white and blue garden: red Rose Rosa 'Double Knockout,' red Bee Balm Monarda 'Jacob Cline,' blue Larkspur Delphinium 'Bellamosum,' and white Yarrow Achillea 'The Pearl.'

This brief communication promises a longer posting very soon.  I recently returned from the Pennsylvania Master Gardeners' Conference that included visits to some incredible gardens in the Brandywine Valley area: Jenkins Arboretum, Scott Arboretum of Strathmore University, Chanticleer, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm and Morris Arboretum. Lots of material for postings. I am busy, however, preparing for some speaking engagements and for some tours of my garden. I'll write as soon as I can.

Happy Fourth, dear gardening friends.

Pamela x

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