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Before the seeds came the flowers.
In late summer 2010, a portion of Longwood's property at the intersection of Longwood and Schoolhouse Roads was a breathtaking sunflower field. Our 22 acre field was blanketed with over 465,000 yellow sunflowers of the variety ‘NunSun’. The crop was grown using sustainable techniques by Longwood’s local farmer – Hicks Bros. Farms.
As the sunflower display came to an end there were a lot of questions surfacing from our guests and our staff: “What were we going to do with all those seeds?”
The sunflower field brought so much joy to so many visitors that Plant Health Care Division Leader Casey Sclar and his Longwood team wanted to come up with an engaging and creative way to keep people connected to the sunflowers long after the flowers were gone.
“Harvesting the seeds from this field, developing a sustainable way to package them, and selling them to our members and guests in The Gardens Shop was an idea we were all excited about—it doesn’t get more local than this,” says Sclar.
The result? Longwood Gardens harvested the black oil sunflower seeds from the display, and the crop yielded over 36,000 pounds of seeds! The seeds were cleaned, packaged inside carbon-free jute bags, and hit the shelves at the shop just in time for Christmas and for our region’s hungry birds.
Even though these were a top-seller throughout A Longwood Christmas, Sclar wants to remind everyone that now is a very important time for feeding birds and purchasing bird seeds.
“We’ve had a lot of ice so far this season, and when there is ice our bird friends cannot access seeds in pinecones and other plants that they would normally obtain their nutrition from. The seeds we sell from Longwood's sunflower field are packed with oil which will give birds all the protein they need to stay healthy throughout the winter.”
These wildlife seeds are a great choice to feed almost every bird in our region including: birds from the Finch family, cardinals, chickadees, juncos, and more.
Grab your bag, and spread the seeds of Longwood’s fields today! Longwood’s Wildlife Seeds are for sale in 10 pound bags for $12.99 at The Gardens Shop.
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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