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Longfield Gardens Blog

How to Overwinter Dahlias

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Oct 21, 2016 4:00:00 PM


Dahlias are heat loving plants that grow best with lots of sun, 80 to 90 degree temperatures and nice warm soil. Unlike most annuals and perennials, they are at their best in late summer and they keep right on blooming right through the fall.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and by late October or early November, dahlias are finally wrapping it up. At this point, you can either treat them as annuals and plant a fresh batch of tubers next spring, or save the tubers from the varieties you really like and grow them again next year. Overwintering dahlias is easier than you might think. Read on for some easy, step-by-step instructions.

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Topics: Dahlias, How-To

How to Protect Fall Bulbs From Chipmunks and Squirrels

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Oct 14, 2016 4:00:00 PM

For gardeners, fall is planting time for tulips, daffodils, alliums and other spring-blooming bulbs. While we're busy planting our bulbs, chipmunks and squirrels are busy gathering nuts, berries and seeds for the winter ahead. If you’re a rodent working hard to fill up your food cache, the flower bulbs we're planting are buried treasure: tasty, nutritious and easy to transport.

It's heartbreaking to have your flower bulbs become dinner for some pesky critter. Read on for some easy planting tips that can help you keep your fall bulbs safe from chipmunks and squirrels.

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Spring Blooming Flowers, How-To

Planting Tulip Bulbs in Your Vegetable Garden

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Oct 7, 2016 4:00:00 PM



I don't know about you, but I can never find enough space for all the tulips I want to grow. There are so many colors and styles and bloom times. So many creative combinations waiting to happen. Planting tulips bulbs goes fast. My challenge is finding places to put them all.

At my house, tulips get tucked into every available space in perennial beds and shrub borders. I also plant them near the front door, along the front walk and in pots to be stored over the winter. When it's tulip season, the overall effect is gorgeous, with splashes of color everywhere you turn.

Yet I still yearn for more. Tulips look so amazing when they're planted by the hundreds and what I really crave is big blocks of color like you see in public gardens.

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Topics: Tulips

Muscari: The Special Sauce for Your Spring Garden

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Sep 30, 2016 4:00:00 PM


If you love flowers, Holland’s Keukenhof gardens should definitely be on your bucket list. When you're there, you will see a LOT of muscari. That's because these grape-scented flowers, commonly known as grape hyacinths, are the perfect companion for every spring-blooming bulb. Here are 6 reasons you should be planting them this fall:

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Topics: Muscari

Bloom Time Chart for Allium Bulbs

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Sep 22, 2016 10:30:00 AM

If you're one of the many gardeners who have fallen in love with alliums, our new bloom time chart could get you into some trouble. We have organized the 12 most popular alliums by height, flower size and bloom time, so it's easy to see at a glance which types of alliums you have and which ones you still need to get!

It's impossible to predict exactly when a plant will bloom, but this chart is a good reference for the bloom time sequence you can expect. Choose alliums that bloom early, mid and late in the season, and you'll have flowers from late spring to midsummer.

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Topics: Alliums, Garden Design

How to Use Alliums in a Naturalistic Garden Design

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Sep 15, 2016 10:30:00 AM

There’s nothing subtle about alliums. Their round flower heads and slender, leafless stems make them look like exclamation points in the landscape.

Though alliums have big personalities, these spring-blooming bulbs are incredibly versatile. The following garden design was created by Columbus-based garden designer Nick McCullough, and it shows how effectively alliums can be used in a naturalistic planting, combined with low maintenance perennials and ornamental grasses.

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Topics: Alliums

Where to Plant Fall Bulbs: There's Always Room for More

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Sep 8, 2016 10:30:00 AM


Summer is fading fast and soon it will be time for sweaters, warm tea and... bulb planting. It's your once-a-year opportunity to pull out all the stops and go wild with color. (That's tulip Princess Irene and muscari armeniacum above.)

Spring-blooming flower bulbs already contain everything they need to produce fabulous flowers. All you have to do is put them in the ground. That part is easy. For me, the struggle is finding enough places to put all the bulbs I want to plant!

Wondering where to plant bulbs around your home this fall? Curious about how to make room for them in a small or already crowded yard?  Here are 7 fresh ideas for wrapping your home in enough spring color to really turn heads.

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs

Best Daffodils for Naturalizing

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Sep 1, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Nothing shouts, “spring” like daffodils. Their sunny flowers, blooming in carefree abundance, are the perfect tonic after a long winter.

Daffodils make it easy to create an ever more impressive show of color. As soon as the bulbs have finished blooming, they get right to work storing up energy for the next spring. As the bulbs replenish their reserves, they grow larger, which means you'll get more blossoms the following year.

Some types of daffodils, especially many of the older varieties, are able to clone themselves by producing side bulbs or "offsets". Within a year or two, these bulbs get large enough to bloom on their own. So if your goal is to have big drifts of flowers, it's best to plant varieties that are known to be good at producing offsets. That way, the 100 bulbs you plant this fall will eventually become 300… 600…1000.

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Topics: Daffodils

Long-Lasting Tulips and Daffodils? Start Here

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Aug 25, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Spring-flowering bulbs have got to be tough. On an early spring day, it can be freezing in the morning and 80 degrees by afternoon.

Climate change is intensifying these temperatures swings, especially on the warm end of the spectrum. So to help gardeners cope, we are using our trial garden to identify bulb varieties with superior staying power; spring-blooming bulbs that can retain their good looks even when the weather gets unseasonably warm.

Here are a few tulips and daffodils that grabbed our attention in our NJ trial gardens last spring. All are strong growers with flowers that lasted days longer than average. When you're selecting bulbs for your garden this fall, consider adding a few of these high performers:

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Tulips, Daffodils, Spring Blooming Bulbs

Know Your Dahlias: Flower Styles and Sizes

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Aug 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Dahlias make it easy to keep your garden colorful from late summer through fall. As other annuals and perennials are starting to fade, dahlias are turning on the flower power in an all out effort to dazzle and amaze -- all the way to the first frost.

With thousands of dahlia varieties to choose from, part of the fun of growing these summer-blooming bulbs, is discovering new colors and flower styles. Learning to identify them by type makes it easier to recognize the different varieties and figure out which ones you find most appealing.

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Topics: Dahlias


Kathleen LaLiberte has been writing about gardening for more than 30 years from her home in northern Vermont, where she tends a half acre of flowers, vegetables and fruit. She has been working with Longfield Gardens since 2011.