I was lured into planting my first garden more than thirty years ago by the images in the White Flower Farm catalog - I remember ordering daylilies and delphinium...I probably never even got past the "Ds".....
Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanilla Strawberry' is the cover girl on the Summer 2012 catalog (order a copy of the catalog here), and only a small example of the plant porn to be found within...
Our local nurseries are so well stocked now with most everything you can find in the WWF catalog, and with other advantages (pick out your own plants, no shipping, lower prices) I rarely order from the catalog anymore, but I still adore and study it. It's such a great source of information on new varieties, planting combinations...really, the photos are so gorgeous you can nearly smell the roses, lilies, and lavender, feel the silkiness of the ruffled clematis and poppy petals.
If you're in search of inspiration for pots and hanging baskets, check out the "Carnivale" combo in a tall bronze urn: "Canna 'Tropical Salmon', Coleus 'Bronze Pagoda' and Verbena 'Aztec Plum' with a hit of lantana and yellow helenium.
I got into growing tuberous begonias (like B. 'Orange Cascade', left) because of the catalog's luscious photos. And the dahlias...it's like a primer of the most covetable of these most covetable summertime beauties.
It's a sign of the times that WWF is emphasizing annuals less and vegetables more; they're selling tomatoes, peppers, salad greens, raspberries, and a "Beginner's
Veggie Garden Collection"
From my first garden nearly forty years ago to now, White Flower Farm has been about quality. It's still the place to buy as close as you can get to a ready-made garden, pick up something new and glamorous (I fell for their extravagant Clematis 'Crystal Palace' a few seasons ago when it was still exclusive to WWF), or just study, and dream over the beautiful, and still free, catalog.
White Flower Farm has always specialized in soul-stirring flowers, like this red and pink Clematis 'Avant-Garde', which hardly looks real, and poppies like P. orientale 'Salmon Glow' (bottom photo). All photos courtesy of White Flower Farm.