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Extra, extra, read all about it! The secret to controlling weeds in your vegetable garden is right there in the newspaper. Actually, it is the newspaper, according to Harold Taylor, section gardener in the display division.
Here is his tip, which he says works especially well for long-season crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, and potatoes:
After tilling the soil in early spring, plant your crops. Once the plants have germinated or are established, spread 3-4 layers of newspaper between each row of vegetables. Use only the typical newsprint-type pages; avoid glossy inserts or shiny pages. Cover the newspaper with clean straw to hold it in place and create a tidy appearance.
Taylor says that this simple step can cut down on weeding by ninety to ninety-five percent, and also conserves water. Best of all, the paper and straw will decompose by the end of the season so you will not need to remove them.
Longwood is throwing a huge party from May 21-31, and you’re invited! The guest of honor is a beauty named “Lily.” She and more than ten thousand of her closest friends take center stage during Lilytopia, inspired by the world-famous show at Holland’s Keukenhof. The East Conservatory will be transformed into a breathtaking showcase for the newest varieties from Dutch hybridizers, featured in innovative displays that fuse American zeitgeist with cutting-edge global trends.
"It's a comprehensive event on a never-before achieved international platform,” says Juergen Steininger, grower. "We are bringing the international horticulture sector right here to Longwood Gardens—bulb growers, breeders, greenhouse growers, specialty cut flower growers, export and import companies, flower and commodity brokers, wholesalers, general horticulturists and floriculture societies, and consumers from around the world. This creates an unparalleled forum for the exchange of ideas.
“As for the floral display, we’re taking advantage of the vertical space in the East Conservatory and are installing some structures like lily walls and lily tree forms,” he adds. “I’m really excited about this use of the Conservatory’s volume. Dorien van den Berg designed the display, it’s amazing.”
Plans for Lilytopia have been in the works for two years. “Part of the design includes custom metalwork, handmade vases, and pottery from Florence, Italy,” Steininger says. “It came on an ocean liner. We had one entire cargo container full up to the gills. Everything had to be packed carefully so nothing got damaged or broken.”
While most of the planning went smoothly, there were a few tense moments as preparations came down to the wire. “We booked 15,000 lilies on a normally scheduled KLM flight,” says Steininger, “and then that volcano blew!” Steininger and his team quickly formulated Plan B just in case, but were relieved not to have to implement it. “It would have been a logistical nightmare,” he shudders.
People-planning has demanded almost as much attention as floral considerations. “This is the first time something like this has been done outside Holland,” Steininger says. “We’ve set up sessions to bring growers and buyers together. There’s also education to give professionals and students networking opportunities with potential employers. We’re including the cut flower business, and also bulb wholesalers. Each industry segment has different expectations and its own definition of what a top-quality lily crop should be like. We hope to address and overcome this disconnect, and to define an industry standard of excellence.”
Some special treats await visitors to Lilytopia. The Dutch ambassador, Regina "Renee" Jones-Bos is scheduled to open the show. As part of the festivities, she will name a new cultivar, a double-flowered beauty that represents a breakthrough in lily breeding; it will be released into the marketplace later this year. Visitors are encouraged to attend the debut of this amazing hybrid and find out the name of the newest addition to the floral world at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 21 .
On Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23 at 1:30 p.m., visitors can take a half-hour walking tour with Dorien van den Berg and hear her experiences and inspirations in designing the display. Carillon concerts by Dutch masters will take place throughout Lilytopia. There’s even a “Lily Idol” competition; phone in your choice right from the Conservatory. The festival concludes with evening fireworks on Sunday, May 30.
As for the latest and greatest, “We’ll have some promising pre-release cultivars that are new that they don’t even have names yet, just numbers,” Steininger says.
Lilies are hardy, propagate easily, and look outstanding in flowerbeds, along borders, in boxes, or in cut-flower arrangements. It’s fitting that these beautiful plants have their own celebration.
Visit www.lilytopia.org for more information and a schedule of events.
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Enjoy family-fun activities, an outdoor concert, and behind-the-scenes experiences.
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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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