3.05.2009

Fergus Garrett's White Flower Farm



Some years back, White Flower Farm--I learned how to garden, in part, from their superlative catalog--hired Fergus Garrett, the late Christopher Lloyd's head gardener--to give the farm some serious bling (as if the vast swaths of display gardens they already had were lacking or something). Well, Fergus outdid himself.


He built an incredible, amazing border, 280 feet long and 20 feet deep, and designed it to be stuffed with an over-the-top wild and wooly mix of annuals, tender perennials, tropicals, trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs...I think anything with chlorophyll was fair game. I especially like the way these allium seed heads add so much flair.

How about this canna (think it's 'Erebus', but not sure) and a variegated phlox (no idea)...who knew!
Anyway, a couple times each season I make the 45-minute trip out to Morris, Ct. (the Farm's not really in Litchfield as advertised, just sounds better to say it is) to ogle the sights. And pick up a few plants; they've got some great annuals. Anyway, the garden's original design has been somewhat interpreted some by WFF's ace head garden Cheryl Karpeichik--Hi Cheryl!--who discovered that not everything Fergus suggested was well suited to the rigors of southern New England. So, she made substitutions where needed. I find it comforting that even a Fergus Garrett-designed garden needs a fair amount of tweaking to look its best, and Cheryl's done a great job creating cool little vignettes along the way. But why talk about? Just enjoy the photos. If you want more, read Anne Raver's New York Times story here, or Tovah Martin's local newspaper story here.

Love that old 'Black Magic' (Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic')


Wowsa! Who'd think of Joe Pye weed and Canna 'Tropicanna'!
Simple...Sedum 'Autumn Joy', pink coneflowers, and one of my favorite annuals, bush violet(Browallia americana).

9 comments:

Sheila said...

Beautiful pictures. Very inspiring!

Teza said...

This is a wonderful testament to the magical work that Fergus Garrett is capable of. What he helped to create at Great Dixter is sheer colour madness done to a brilliant result. These pictures remind me very much as to why the names Lloyd and Garrett will always bring to mind vivid arrangements of not only shape and texture, but most importantly COLOUR!!!! Great post, thanks for sharing such great photos!

Gail said...

Lovely, stunning and awe inspiring...oh to be able to see a garden and then create it.

patientgardener said...

I hadnt realised the Fergus had worked in the US - really interesting post.

Steve Silk said...

Thanks Sheila--I may have to appropriate, or adapt, some of these combos for my own garden.

Steve Silk said...

Teza-Thanks, you sound like a Lloyd and Garrett fan. And I agree, these two did a lot to liberate gardeners from old ways and to encourage thinking in more daring, idiosyncratic ways.

Steve Silk said...

Thanks Gail- Iguess that's part of the beauty of annuals--if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Steve Silk said...

Hi PG--I have no idea whether Fergus did any other consults this side of the pond when he was here--it would be interesting to know. But he sure left his impact at WFF, and for that I'm grateful.

www.GardeningExpress.co.uk said...

fantastic blog just discovered here! I was researching canna, they are top sellers on our website Gardening Express