This article had me slightly annoyed last night. “Who are these people and what are they talking about,” I muttered, as I read the following:
In the 1980s, when nurseries like Heronswood and Plant Delights began to offer rare plants from the far corners of the world, White Flower Farm continued to provide plants that had been tested to stand up to the vagaries of the Northeastern climate. Last month, as I walked that massive border with Mr. Wadsworth and Ms. Karpeichik, I learned what had worked and what hadn’t.
“We had trouble with heleniums and achilleas, and other perennials that need sharp drainage,” Ms. Karpeichik said. The Japanese anemones didn’t do well either, “and the Annabelle hydrangeas,” she added, “flop after the first rain.”
It’s from an article by New York Times writer Anne Raver about White Flower Farm, in which she extols their long English border and distinguished history in the world of catalog vendors. All true, I suppose, but I didn’t care for the sideways jab at the departed Heronswoood and—though admittedly, a nursery slanted toward the warmer zones—Plant Delights. Are we to infer that Heronswood failed because they improvidently tried to sell exotic plants that wouldn’t work for Northern gardeners? Hardly, as anyone who has ordered from the nursery is well aware.
I’m sure nothing like that was meant, but such a canonization of White Flower doesn’t sit too well with me. They’re a good venue for certain things, but don’t excel when I compare their prices and quality with many other mail order venues, not to mention the really good local nurseries I frequent.
And the fact that anemones, Annabelle hydrangeas (see mine, above), achilleas, and heleniums aren’t good for Northeastern gardeners will be news to many.