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Longfield Gardens Blog

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

Top Performing Dahlias for Summer 2016

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Aug 11, 2016 10:00:00 AM

It's dahlia season and the plants in our New Jersey trial garden are starting to hit their stride. Where I live, in northern Vermont, my dahlias have been blooming for almost a month already. The weather has been ideal for them -- warm, sunny and a bit on the dry side.

Summers are relatively short here in growing zone 4, so I get a jump on the season by starting the tubers in pots about 6 weeks before planting them outdoors. This year I devoted most of my cutting garden to dahlias: 26 varieties and 40 plants. Here's a look at 5 that are early season standouts.

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Topics: Dahlias

Midsummer Update from Our Trial Garden

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Jul 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM

For Longfield Gardens, home is the Garden State: New Jersey. Our offices and warehouse are located in the eastern part of the state, less than 10 miles from the ocean. About 5 years ago, we put in a ¾ acre trial garden out back, so we could learn more about the plants that we sell. It's still a work in progress, but what we're learning is invaluable.

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

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

Summer is vacation season, and if you're leaving home for more than a few days, you'll probably need to ask 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 can come home to plants that have been 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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