The Longfield Gardens Blog
Inspiration, tips and fun information about gardening updated on a weekly basis.
Paperwhites are the easiest bulbs to force for holiday blooms. Plant them in soil or water and you’ll have a beautiful, fragrant flower show in just 4-6 weeks. These bulbs make ideal holiday gifts because they’re quick to bloom, easy to grow, and inexpensive. Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity and get you thinking “outside the bulb” when it comes to gifting paperwhites.
A cheerful pot of forced tulips on the kitchen counter will brighten even the gloomiest winter days. Their blooms are a refreshing reminder that spring is on the way and forcing them is a therapeutic and rewarding experience. Read more on this week's blog.
Each February, fragrant hyacinth flowers awaken on my dining room table while the garden sleeps beneath a blanket of snow. How can this spring floral display be accomplished in the dead of winter? By encouraging hyacinth bulbs to bloom ahead of their natural schedule through a process called forcing.
The late-May garden wouldn’t be complete without a stand of bearded irises dancing in the breeze. Their silky petals, intoxicating fragrance, and cascading beards are unlike any other flowers. Bearded iris are also the ultimate pass-along plants with origin stories that speak to our hearts.
If you are a flower gardener, deadheading is a task you can’t ignore. Removing spent flowers keeps your plants looking neat and tidy. More importantly, deadheading discourages plants from producing seeds, which helps them conserve energy so they will continue flowering.
Dahlias are workhorse plants that pump out tons of blooms from midsummer until frost. Though they naturally put on a fabulous floral show with little human intervention, with a few additional steps, you can maximize dahlia production and get long, strong stems of pristine dahlia flowers all season long.
It’s always a joy to see butterflies passing through your garden. Wouldn’t it be fun if it happened more often? Though butterflies appear to be flying around randomly, they are actually on a mission. Their lives depend on finding the food, water and habitat they need to survive. If you want your yard and garden to be a popular butterfly hang out, here are 5 steps you can take to make it more welcoming.
Want to add some excitement and personality to your garden this summer? Plant elephant ears! These tropical plants can reach 6 feet tall and have leaves as long as your arm. Elephant ears thrive in heat and humidity, so they have always been popular in the deep south. But gardeners in northern climates are discovering elephant ears also make great container plants.
I definitely have some favorite lilies, but I can’t think of any that are not worth growing. This spring, with 23 new varieties in our lily department, I’m in a heap of trouble. Good thing it’s easy to tuck lily bulbs in among other plants. I’ll be doing a lot of that this spring! Read on for a quick look at this year’s bumper crop of new lilies.
As the demand for dahlias continues to grow, orders are coming in earlier and earlier every year. This means by the time we highlight the season’s new varieties, many have already sold out. Unfortunately, all of our Sweet Nathalie, Brown Sugar, Eveline, and Creme de Cognac tubers have been spoken for. But don’t despair. We still have plenty of terrific new varieties to choose from. Here are a couple of the new dahlias for 2022 that you won’t want to miss.
One of the world’s most respected authorities for color trends is the Pantone Color Institute. Each year they select a palette of trending colors, and choose one “color of the year.” For 2022, that color is a deep shade of periwinkle blue. Find out how you can put Very Peri to work in your flower garden.
If you have houseplants or grow indoor bulbs like amaryllis, you may have some experience with fungus gnats. Fungus gnats live and reproduce in moist potting soil, and that’s where the problem lies. Find out about an easy organic solution and how to keep these pesky insects from returning.
This year, you can choose from 13 different Flirty Fleurs dahlia collections, including two colorful new options for 2022. They make it easy to always have blooms that look great together in a vase. Or, use the collections as inspiration and add or subtract varieties to come up with your own unique medley of colors and textures.
If you live in a warm climate where winter temperatures never dip below 10°F (hardiness zones 9-11), you can grow amaryllis outdoors as perennials. These tropical bulbs will put on an impressive show in your garden each spring. The stems may also be cut and brought indoors for dramatic bouquets that lasts for weeks.
The key to having amaryllis in bloom throughout the winter months is to grow several different varieties since they all seem to be on slightly different bloom time schedules. Each fall, there’s a wave of new amaryllis varieties to choose from. While it’s hard to beat the big, velvety red flowers of Magnum or Red Pearl, be sure your winter survival kit also includes a few of the more unusual colors and forms. Here are a few new ones to tempt you.
Most of the bulbs in this planting scheme are early bloomers that grow best in climates with cold winters. If you garden in zone 8 or warmer, experiment with a small number of bulbs before going all out on a large planting. Read on to see the bulbs that I am including in my carpet of blue.
Peonies are among the biggest and best blooms in the late spring garden. Their exuberant flower heads, heavenly scent, and ability to thrive for decades make them the perfect plant for mixed herbaceous borders, cuttings gardens, and floral hedges.
It’s October, and flower farmers from Maine to California are winding down the harvest season. Cutting the last of the dahlias and sunflowers is always bittersweet. Yet many flower farmers are already busy planting spring-blooming bulbs that will jump-start next year’s sales.
Having a name that’s difficult to pronounce and hard to remember is just as much of a liability for plants as it is for people. With Latin names that include Allium bulgaricum, Allium siculum and Nectaroscordum siculum, it's no wonder this allium is still relatively unknown. So let's use its common name, Sicilian honey garlic, and start giving it the attention it deserves.
It doesn’t really matter what the calendar says. For gardeners, spring officially begins when the first flowers bloom. Early-blooming bulbs are essentials for anyone who spends the winter months yearning for spring. Learn how snowdrops, crocuses and chionodoxa can jump-start the season with their cheery blooms.
As with most things gardening, there are no hard and fast rules for how closely to space spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and alliums. But you can be sure of one thing: they always look best planted generously. Spring bulbs have far more impact when you see them as a group rather than as individuals blossoms.
September is here and our fall shipping season starts in just a couple of weeks. This year we added lots of new varieties of daffodils and other spring-bloomers. And we really let ourselves go with tulips, adding a total of 18 new varieties! There are tulips in all shapes, sizes and colors. Read on to see which varieties you want to see in your garden next spring!
It’s high summer and the dahlias are coming on strong. The plants in my garden started pushing out blossoms a couple weeks ago and will continue blooming right through early October. This year I am growing about 60 of these solar powered flower-producing machines. That’s a LOT of flowers to manage and a good reason to check in with a fellow dahlia addict for some timely advice.