As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend, I convinced a gardening friend to visit some of the gardens I have written about on TheGardenLady.org blog and other gardens or nurseries I wanted to visit to enable me to write about them.Â I also wrote about visiting Cricket Hill Farm on the first day of my two day garden trip.Â Â But this wasn’t the only garden I visited on this day.
The second garden I wanted to visit was part of one of the best known and, I always thought, most beloved plant nursery in the US. I have been getting the catalogs of The White Flower Farm nursery since the 1960s.Â Even though the early catalogs had illustrations not photos of the flowers, I used to think that their catalogs were as good as any of the early plant books that were published in their early years- they were really informative. But in all the time I have known about the nursery, I had never visited it.
Some garden aficionados had warned me that they were no longer as outstanding as they used to be; that their selection at the store was not as extensive as they used to have because most of their plants were mail order plants. After all, they have changed ownership. Since I had never been to White Flower Farm before, I did not know what to expect. But I was not disappointed. In fact, the opposite was the case. This GardenLady was “blown away” with the nursery. First of all, they are worth traveling to visit for their display gardens alone. There are acres filled with show gardens. And their plants are of excellent quality and the newest varieties on the market.This is not a place to get bargains or inexpensive plants like Russell Gardens Wholesale. But White Flower Farm is an excellent plant nursery to visit just to see what is available. And I cannot imagine anyone leaving empty handed.
We haven’t had a strong frost yet in my area to kill all the perennials in the garden. So it is interesting to see the last blooming plants of the year. Of course, there are some chrysanthemums and also the pansies that are still blooming.
But as I look around at the plants in flower I am amazed that the Gaillardia flowers are still opening on the stem. I have Gaillardia Arizona Sun. The plant is reputed to have lots of 4â€ blooms, incredible form, and survivability in harshest of conditions. I guess that means cool as well as hot conditions. It won both the America Selections (AAS) award and the European Fleur select Gold Medal! It likes sun but grows in average soils and is hardy from Zone 3 to zone 9.
Another flower that is blooming in my neighbor’s garden is their orange California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica. If I can find the package of seeds I bought, I hope to plant these poppies in the garden now. These poppies grow from seed and self seed. They are said to grow in zones 3 to 9 but grow best in zones 5 and higher. Broadcast the seeds (to broadcast is to just throw the seeds on the top of the soil and hope the birds don’t eat the seeds) on cultivated well drained soil where you want the plants to grow because the seedlings donâ€™t transplant well. Sow in fall in mild-winter areas, in spring in colder regions. If rain is absent, water to keep ground moist until seeds germinate. These poppies need full sun but will grow in poor soil as long as there is good drainage. The pH can be anywhere from 5.5 to 8. The plants are drought tolerant. Deer don’t like these poppies nor do many insects or diseases. The only thing to remember is that the poppies must get lots of sun because they hate shade. They naturalize in the garden. If they get enough water in the summer, they seem to bloom all summer long. And it was such a surprise to see the brilliant orange flowers blooming at this time of year.
In the last post, TheGardenLady reported about three plants that will be coming out in 2008, Hypericum ‘Mystical Beauty’,Â Philadelphus ‘Snow White Sensation’ and Hydrangea macrophylla â€˜Mystical Emeraldâ€™.Â Here are two more plants that are coming out in 2008, according toÂ Novalis, the group that introduced the Double Knock Out and Pink Double Knock Out roses.
Gaillardia Commotion â€˜Tizzyâ€™
Whatâ€™s all the Commotion? Another world class introduction from Skagit Gardens: a stunning pair ofÂ new, vibrant, fluted Gaillardias! Skagitâ€™s very own propagator, John Dixon, is a plantsman and visionary who set out to bring red color into fluted forms of Gaillardia. His push was toward double petals withÂ strong garden vigor. We are thrilled to report that his breeding efforts have been met with success, andÂ with Skagitâ€™s help, we are able to bring you the 1st 2 introductions in the Commotionâ„¢ Series. TheÂ Series shows strong, hybrid vigor, but still has a manageable, mounding habit. The petal count per bloomÂ is higher than other fluted forms, giving a full, almost semi-double appearance. And color: well, thatÂ indeed stirs up a flurry of Commotionâ„¢! Early in the season, both varieties offer more red and burgundy tones, with hints of yellow. By summerâ€™s end, orange plays into the red, making these beauties naturals for fall combination plantings. Whether you plant the pair in your perennial border, or use as bold, striking container centerpieces youâ€™re guaranteed to enjoy the incredible number of blooms all season long!
Deep russet-red blooms open to flowers that range from red to rosy cotta
Â Outlined with a hint of yellow
Â Exposure: Full Sun Spacing: 24â€ Height: 18-24â€
Â Water: Allow soil to dry before watering ColdÂ Â Hardiness: Zone 5