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Longfield Gardens Blog

What Were Your Favorite Spring Bulbs?

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on May 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM

We try our best to show you what our flower bulbs will really look like when they bloom in your garden. One of the ways we do this is by maintaining a trial garden where we grow and photograph most of the varieties that we sell. But flowers are living things with a presence and personality, and getting all that into a photograph is pretty much impossible.

Take the double tulip Creme Upstar, shown above. I can tell you how soft those blossoms are, how they seem to glow from within and how the pink-striped foliage accentuates the rosy blush on the petals. But when you see them blooming in front of you, there's no need for words. You'll just fall madly, deeply in love.

The season is drawing to a close, and we are eager to hear about which spring bulbs captured your heart. Would you let us know by adding a review to our website? Your feedback is SO valuable to us and so appreciated by other gardeners. Was it the size or the color of the flowers that impressed you? How long they lasted or how good they smelled? Maybe you discovered an amazing combination (by design or by luck!).

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Spring Blooming Flowers, Spring Blooming Bulbs

Planting Dahlias in Your Vegetable Garden

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on May 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM

One thing all dahlia lovers have in common is a shortage of growing space. No matter how big your garden is, there are always more must-have varieties than you have room for.

Last spring, I filled up my cutting garden and perennial beds with plants I had started in my greenhouse and still had 6 or 8 extra dahlias. I could have given them away, but they were varieties I hadn't grown before and I really wanted to see them bloom. After wandering around the yard looking for possible planting spots, I thought... why not the vegetable garden?

Dahlias are energetic plants with big appetites and they are at their best when grown in rich, loamy soil with access to as much moisture and fertilizer as they want. I discovered that if you give them the same growing conditions as a tomato plant, they do amazing things!

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Topics: Summer Blooming Bulbs, Dahlias, Inspiration

How We Select the Best Flower Bulbs for Your Spring Garden

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on May 5, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The world's flower farmers produce about 8.5 billion flower bulbs every year -- and 80% of them are grown in Holland. Others try, but it's difficult to compete with hundreds of years of experience and Holland's almost perfect growing conditions for spring bulbs: sandy soil, cool and moist spring weather, and warm, relatively dry summers.

Most gardeners in the U.S. have growing conditions that are very different from the Netherlands. We belive it's important to know how Dutch bulbs perform when they're not in Holland. One way we do this is by maintaining a trial garden behind our warehouse in New Jersey, where each fall we plant approximately 200 different varieties of spring-blooming flower bulbs. Between the landscaped garden areas and the trial beds (shown above) we usually put in about 25,000 bulbs!

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Topics: Spring Blooming Flowers, Tulips, Spring Blooming Bulbs

How to Keep Container Plants Looking Their Best

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Apr 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Spring is here and gardeners everywhere are busy stuffing plants into pots. It's one of my favorite rites of spring. I love selecting the plants, composing the designs and seeing instant results.

At this time of year, garden centers are packed with so many beautiful, well-grown plants that it's relatively easy to compose a great-looking container. The challenge is keeping your pots and planters looking good from now to fall. 

Here are six planting tips that can make your container gardens look even more impressive at the end of the season than they do in May.

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Topics: Summer Blooming Bulbs, Spring Planted Bulbs, Inspiration

7 Design Tips for Shady Gardens

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Apr 21, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Some gardeners never spend a minute thinking about design. Others (like me) can spend a year finding the perfect spot for a rock. The person who created the garden shown above, definitely thought a lot about design. If you have a shady place in your yard, you can steal some great ideas from this little jewelbox of a garden.

Foliage color. Shade gardens are always more about foliage than flowers. Notice how many different leaf colors have been chosen to create contrast, including blue-black, burgundy, grey and cream.

Foliage texture. In filtered light, it's much easier to see variations in surface textures. This area includes smooth and glossy leaves that reflect light, as well as fuzzy and dull ones that absorb it. There's also a wide range of leaf sizes, from boxwoods to giant hostas. 

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Topics: Garden Design, Inspiration, Shade Plants

Love Alliums? See How a Garden Designer Puts Them to Work

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Apr 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Alliums are a great way to add color and excitement to your early summer flower garden. These big-blooming perennials are incredibly easy to grow, yet many people are unsure about how to integrate them into a garden design.

To get you inspired about growing alliums, we turned to Nick McCullough, an award-winning APLD-certified garden designer. Nick owns McCullough's Landscape and Nursery in Columbus, OH. He is also the author of the popular garden blog: Thinking Outside the Boxwood and his Pinterest account has an impressive 3.3 million followers!

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Topics: Alliums, Garden Design, Inspiration, Perennials

Celebrating Spring Bulbs - From Bud to Bloom

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Apr 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

One of the best things about spring-flowering bulbs is how quickly they come into bloom. At the first sign of warmer weather, they practically leap from the ground and burst into flower. 

Spring bulbs are uniquely adapted to being the first flowers on the scene. Their buds aren't bothered by freezing temperatures and are able to push themselves up through cold and sometimes even frozen soil and come out looking perfect every time. Before these tenacious early bloomers disappear for another year, let's pause for a quick look at the beauty of their buds.

The season begins with snowdrops, so that's a good place to start. In the photo below, you can see how the top of the stem serves to protect the flower bud as drives up through the soil. Once the flower opens, the stem becomes a handy plant hanger. 

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Topics: Spring Blooming Flowers, Tulips, Daffodils, Alliums, Spring Blooming Bulbs

Making an Impact With Border Dahlias

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Mar 31, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The only way to really understand a plant is to grow it yourself. So in our business, we wind up growing a lot of plants.

We have a large trial garden behind our offices where we test new varieties and monitor the performance of others. Most of us also have our own home gardens. The gardening and landscaping that we do at home influences our product selection and growing recommendations just as much as the trial garden does.

Border dahlias are a good example. These summer-blooming bulbs always perform well in field trials, but it was at home that we really came to understand their value. We thought you might be interested in seeing some of the results -- at one of our own homes.

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Topics: Summer Blooming Bulbs, Dahlias, Garden Design, Inspiration

Bloom Time Chart for Spring and Summer Bulbs

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Mar 24, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Flower bulbs are an easy way to boost the amount of color in your yard and garden. By choosing bulbs that flower at different times during the growing season, you can be sure to always have something beautiful coming into bloom.

Our new bloom time chart (shown below) lets you see at a glance when each type of flower bulb comes into bloom. To get a continuous parade of color, you can simply plant a few bulbs from each bloom time.

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Topics: Summer Blooming Bulbs, Spring Blooming Bulbs, Garden Design, Inspiration

Best Garden Flowers to Attract Bees

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Mar 17, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Pollinators need our help and gardens can offer them a safe haven. Like other wildlife, bees have four basic needs: food, water, cover and a place to raise their young. Our gardens can provide all of these essentials, but offering food, in the form of flowers, may the most valuable contribution we can make.

Honeybees, bumblebees and other pollinators need access to nectar and pollen every day that they're active -- from early spring through late fall. The easiest way to make sure your garden always has something to offer, is to grow a wide variety of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs.

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Topics: Habitat Gardens

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