Nearly 60,000 people experienced the inaugural Lilytopia last May, when the East Conservatory at Longwood Gardens was converted into a lily paradise featuring the newest lilies Dutch hybridizers developed.
The event was such a success in 2010 that Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, Pa., is hosting Lilytopia again. This year’s showcase will take place May 20-30. The Lilytopia Symposium for growers is returning, as well, bringing together horticultural experts like the University of Georgia’s Allan Armitage, Cornell University’s Bill Miller and North Carolina State University’s August De Hertogh for discussions on the production and marketing of lilies.
“Last year was a trial balloon for everybody,” says Paul Redman, Longwood’s executive director. “We were so pleased with the outcome, not only from the general attendance but for the response we received from the industry. We had to do it again because of that support. Clearly, there’s interest in getting lilies to the retail market and a thirst for knowledge of them.”
Growers can quench their own thirst for knowledge by attending the May 23 symposium, which kicks off at 8 a.m. and wraps up at 5 p.m. Pre-registration for the event is required. Growers can register online at LongwoodGardens.org/lilytopia.html. Registration on or before April 23 is $99 while registration after that date is $109. The registration deadline is May 17.
Interested growers can learn more about the symposium, its educational track and other event details like lodging and transportation online. In the meantime, here’s a sample of the presentations growers can expect to hear at Longwood:
Looking at the Industry: An Evolutionary Tale
De Hertogh, Emeritus professor in the Department of Horticulture at N.C. State, will offer a historical account of flower bulbs and share his perspective on what growers need to consider to strengthen the industry over the next few years.
Sustainable Flower Bulb Production Developments
Henk Gude, senior scientist at Wageningen University & Research Centre in The Netherlands, will explore the possibilities of reducing the amount of pesticides, nutrients and energy used to grow, store, transport and force flower bulbs.
Sandy Hering, a horticulture consultant, will discuss the notion of sustainability and actionable steps growers should consider taking for their businesses.
Scheduling & Post-Harvest
Armitage will take an in-depth look at the performance of eight cultivars of new genetically dwarf series of Oriental pot lilies and see how their greenhouse performance compares to industry standards like ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Mona Lisa.’
Miller will discuss production efficiencies, ways to improve plant quality and new ways to use lilies, using his research at Cornell as a foundation.