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Longfield Gardens Blog

Know Your Lilies: Asiatics, Orientals, Trumpets and More!

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

It's pretty easy to tell the difference between daylilies (hemerocallis) and true lillies (lilium). Daylilies have a dense root system, long, strappy foliage and clusters of flowers on wiry stems. True lilies grow from bulbs. They have a prominent, upright stalk that displays both foliage and flowers. 

What gets tricky is trying to tell one true lily from another -- even though they have different growth habits, look quite different from each other and flower at different times during the summer. Being able to tell them apart is important if you want to have the full lily experience -- which means having lilies in bloom from June through August! Here's a quick visual guide to the wonderful world of lilies:

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Topics: Lilies, How-To

Best Practices for Watering Plants

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jul 14, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Midsummer is vacation season, and if you're leaving home for more than a few days, you'll probably be asking someone to water your garden and containers. When I'm away, my instructions for which plants need to be watered, and how much and how often to water them, is usually at least two pages long. Even with that, I typically come home to plants that have been either under- or over-watered.

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Topics: How-To

New Tulip Bulbs for Fall 2016

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jul 7, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Tulip bulbs make it easy to paint a masterpiece with spring-blooming flowers. This year's lineup of new varieties offers some unexpected color combinations and unusual flower styles that are sure to inspire your creativity.

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Topics: Spring Blooming Flowers, Tulips, Summer Blooming Bulbs

American Flowers Week Promotes Locally-Grown Cut Flowers

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

The "buy local" movement has transformed our country's food system, and now the same thing is happening in the cut flower industry. As with food, this locally grown movement couldn't be happening without the creativity and hard work of flower farmers from Maine to California.

Credit also goes to a cadre of activists who are working to raise awareness about the value of locally grown cut flowers -- for consumers and for local economies. American Flowers Week is a fun way to spread the word and get more people involved.

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Topics: Cut Flowers

Fertilizer Basics -- Why and How to Feed Your Plants

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jun 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Plants that are well fed are healthier, more pest and disease resistant, and produce bigger, better crops of flowers and fruit.

As gardeners we are eager to do right by our plants and wouldn’t want them to go hungry. Unfortunately, most garden soils don't provide all the nutrients plants need to reach their full potential, so it's up to us to close the gap.

Adding compost and other organic matter is important for improving the long-term health and fertility of your soil. Fertilizers also play an important role in providing readily available nutrients that keep plants growing strong.

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Topics: How-To

How to Control Red Lily Leaf Beetles

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jun 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The red lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is a destructive pest that feeds almost exclusively on true lilies (Lilium spp.), including Asiatic and Oriental lilies as well as Orienpets and species lilies.

First discovered in Canada about 50 years ago, this non-native species has gradually infiltrated most of New England and central and western Canada. In 2012 it appeared in Washington and Oregon as well. If this pest is active in your region, your lilies are at risk. Here are some ways to protect them.

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Topics: Lilies

6 Ways to Control Garden Slugs and Snails

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jun 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

They may look harmless, but slugs and snails can cause a surprising amount of damage in a garden. They chew holes in leaves, munch on flower buds and fruit, and devour tender seedlings, leaving a trail of silvery slime wherever they go.

Both of these pests are mollusks (like oysters and clams) so regular garden insecticides are usually ineffective. The best way to control these spineless villains is to attack from several directions.

Make Them Unwelcome

Slugs and snails feed mainly at night. By day they retreat to moist, dark places under leaves, pots and mulch. To make your garden less appealing, keep soggy leaves away from your plants. Put away unused pots and clutter that could provide hiding places. Wait to mulch until early summer when the soil and air is drier. Cut off spent flowers and remove dead or damaged leaves to encourage good air circulation. In the fall, raking up leaves and cleaning up garden debris will make it more difficult for adults and eggs to overwinter. 

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Aftercare Tips for Spring Bulbs

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jun 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

When the spring bulb season comes to an end, gardeners often wonder what to do about the spent flowers and fading foliage. The answer depends on whether you are treating the bulbs as annuals or perennials.

Spring bulbs as annuals

Though most spring bulbs are hardy perennials and will return year after year, many people plant fresh bulbs every fall. If that’s your plan, simply use a garden fork to “lift” the spent plants after they finish blooming (bulb and all) and add them to your compost pile. Potted bulbs can also be discarded. Part of the fun of spring bulbs is being able to plant something new each year.

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Spring Blooming Bulbs

How to Extend the Peony Season

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on May 26, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Peonies are one of America's best-loved perennials and luckily, they’re also one of the easiest to grow. These robust, shrub-like plants bloom for generations with virtually no attention. They tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, are rarely bothered by deer or other pests and look attractive from spring through fall.

Of course the best thing about peonies is their amazing flowers -- blousy blooms as big as your hand with petals like brushed silk. With their soft texture and romantic colors, it's no surprise they're such a popular choice for bridal bouquets.

The only complaint one could ever have with peonies is that their gorgeous flowers come and go so quickly. Wouldn't it be great if you could have peonies in bloom for two months rather than two weeks? Well you can, and here’s how.

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Topics: Perennials, Peonies

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

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