A Midsummer Tour of Our Trial Garden

Trial Garden Update - Longfield Gardens

August is just a couple days away, and in our New Jersey trial garden the heat is definitely ON!  We are located in the eastern part of the state about 10 miles from the ocean and summertime temperatures are typically in the 90’s.

This 3/4 acre garden, was (not very long ago) a scrub-covered empty lot behind our warehouse and offices. Eventually there will be some tree cover, but for now the only way to escape from the sun is to hang out under the shade netting along with the potted plants. overview-1

Tulipsdaffodils and other spring-blooming bulbs occupy the garden until mid-May, so almost everything that’s here now has only been in the ground for 8 or 9 weeks. It’s a testament to the incredible energy contained inside every flower bulb!


Lilies Galore

This summer we are growing hundreds of Oriental lilies. The fragrance is heavenly!

Trial Garden Update Lilies - Longfield Gardens

Happily, there are lots more blossoms ahead…


Cannas love hot weather — the more heat the better.  Below you can see pots of Tropicanna Gold and Tropicanna Black. We will be using these plants to bulk up containers and garden beds.  You can do the same thing at home. Buy a few extra cannas, lilies and dahlias and grow them in pots.  When gaps appear in the garden, just pop in one of the reserves.


By July, the soil is warm and caladiums are practically leaping out of the ground. Below you see pink Carolyn Whorton, a caladium mix and the lovely white caladium Candidum,

Trial Garden Update Caladiums - Longfield Gardens

We added several varieties of elephant ears to our line last spring. Hawaiian Punch is one of the new ones and it continues to impress us. The teal green leaves have burgundy-purple stems.

Trial-Garden-Update-elephant ears - Longfield-Gardens

The plants shown above are growing under shade netting, but most of the garden is in full sun. Some of these beds contain a mix of shrubs and perennials, and others are display beds that we reserve for testing various plant combinations.

Trial Garden Update Elephant Ears - Longfield Gardens

We also grow in large, patio-size containers. Besides tracking performance at the variety level, we are also looking for plants that will be good companions in terms of texture, height, color and bloom time. Containers make it easy to see what works and what doesn’t.

Trial-Garden-Update Liatris and Elephant Ears - Longfield-Gardens

Most of the border dahlias are now in full bloom, but the standard dahlias and dinnerplates need another week or two before they are really cranking out the flowers. I’ll be back with another trial garden update at the end of August!

Trial Garden Update Dahlia Art Nouveau - Longfield Gardens

Border dahlia Gallery Art Deco