“wake up & smell the flowers”
In the late 1930's, William Harris and his wife Jane Grant made a house out of a small barn in Litchfield, Connecticut, a small town nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires. They were both writers, he for Fortune Magazine and she for The New York Times, and imagined a "little place in the country" to which they could bring their work and where they could vacation. Before long, they discovered that trying to write in Litchfield was torture, because nature beckoned so seductively that they spent far more time with her than with their work. Indeed, it wasn't long before nature took over their lives in a way that neither of them could possibly have imagined. With time, energy, and intelligence to burn, Harris and Grant (for so they chose to be called) plunged into gardening with the missionary zeal common to new converts and quickly exhausted the resources of their local advisors and suppliers. With the curiosity of journalists, and the resources of New York at their fingertips, they quickly realized that American gardening in the 40's was, with few exceptions, an intellectual backwater with little or no interest in new plants, original design ideas, or even modern cultural practices. It was, in short, a marketplace waiting for new leadership, which Harris and Grant were shortly to provide.From this beginning in the private garden of an extremely demanding and discerning individual grew a business based on the principle that good plants and good service will, if presented clearly and accurately, always have an audience among knowledgeable gardeners. With very little paid promotion, the enthusiastic endorsement of early customers led to gradual but consistent growth in the business. This modest approach was consistent with the declared policy of the proprietor to maintain his standards of quality by always growing the plants to be offered for sale. The practical implication of this traditional practice, which requires skilled growers, large inventories, irrigated fields, extensive greenhouses, refrigerated storage, and agile scheduling, meant that rapid expansion was an economic impossibility regardless of the opportunity in the marketplace. So, White Flower Farm remained small while its competitors grew large, and found itself serving a devoted band of ardent horticulturists whose tastes and enthusiasms were anything but mainstream. They came to the company looking for the best of ornamental plants, both new and old, plus the information and advice necessary to succeed with them , and the quality and service they found kept them coming back, with their children and grandchildren to follow.
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White Flower Farm
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