White Flower Farm

Vibrant mixed border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Vibrant mixed border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

My first garden was filled with plants that were in bloom when I purchased them from the local nursery that spring. But come summer, I found a space filled with a whole lot of green and nothing else. Nothing. Needless to say, this was the beginning of my quest for creating borders with multi-seasonal interest. And one of the first sources to help me on this mission were the beautiful gardens at White Flower Farm (www.whiteflowerfarm.com) and their educational plant catalogs. The established grounds at White Flower Farm offer unlimited inspiration, while the catalogs present detailed information about each featured plant, including when and how long it blooms, zones, accurate colors, height and width, and sun or shade requirements; important facts that helped me to design gardens with yearlong appeal.

Display beds along the White Flower Farm store in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Display beds along the White Flower Farm store (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

It all started in the late 1930’s, when writers William Harris and his wife Jane Grant, (he for Fortune Magazine and she for The New York Times) found a little place in the country (Litchfield, Connecticut) where they could work and vacation. Before long, this ambitious duo began creating gardens throughout their property, but finding little inspiration in the plant material available, they decided to seek out new varieties of high quality plants, which ultimately led them to open their own business. In 1976, Harris sold White Flower Farm (named for their first perennial border, the all white Moon Garden still in existence today) to its current owner, Eliot Wadsworth (a.k.a. Amos Pettingill) who, with the help of a knowledgeable staff, has continued to collect plants from around the world while maintaining the quality and service customers have come to expect.

Brilliant shrubs and plants in the Lloyd Border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Brilliant shrubs and plants dazzle in the Lloyd Border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Open April to October, White Flower Farm’s stunning trial and display gardens welcome thousands of visitors every year, which is the perfect way to experience the many plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees featured in their catalog (*I especially love their bare root packages, such as the DAYLILY and daffodil mixes, which allow you to plant large areas more affordably). Whether you have lots of sun or extensive shade, there are a variety of perennial garden and annual container examples to provide ideas easily replicated at home. Because many of the borders were created over a decade ago, you can easily see what these specimens look like at maturity, something that is often difficult to envision when working with young plants, shrubs and trees.

Weeping Hemlock flanks Mixed Evergreen Hedge in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Weeping Hemlock flanks Mixed Evergreen Hedge (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

And speaking of trees, a few classic representatives are sited on White Flower Farm’s 5 acre property. Directly behind the store resides a majestic weeping beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’, that was planted in 1958. Imagine a 56 year old living canopy that is large enough for a family to live under, and witnessing the massive limbs reminiscent of elephant skin that have withstood decades of New England’s harshest weather, seemingly unscathed. Another glorious example is a weeping hemlock, Tsuga canadensis ‘Pendula’, also circa 1958, which presents the perfect accompaniment to the adjacent Mixed Evergreen Hedge planted in 1963 from cuttings originating at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Fiery canna leaves ignite the border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fiery canna leaves ignite the border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Ideas and inspiration abound on this property; from the Emerald Isle Hostas (dating from 1963) that line both sides of Esther’s Road with incredibly lush foliage, to the textural Shade Garden, cozy Cottage Garden and the dynamic Lloyd Border (named after English plantsman, Christopher Lloyd). No matter where you land, your imagination is sure to take flight after visiting this wonderful establishment~


  1. It all looks so pretty. That was so fun

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