Welcome to Long's Gardens

3240 Broadway - map
P.O. Box 19
Boulder, CO. 80306

Toll Free: 866-442-2353
Phone: 303-442-2353
Fax: 303-413-1323
e-mail us

A diagnosis of tuberculosis sent Jesse Dillman (J.D.) Long west from his home on a farm near Mason City, Iowa in search of a drier climate. The doctor gave J.D. about six months to live, but he outlived that prognosis by over 40 years.

After a brief try at recovery in Idaho, he came to Colorado in 1898. He located first in the Colorado Springs area, but then in the spring of 1900 moved to Boulder County and secured a job on the Hoover Ranch, east of Boulder, earning $1.00 a day. He then found work in Boulder and in 1905, with the monetary backing of Isaac T. Earl, was able to purchase the Noah’s Ark Store. A variety store, it had a seed department and J.D. set out to expand this department. The first mail order seed catalog was issued in 1908 and after a few years the business name was changed to the J.D. Long Seed Company.

Noah's Ark 1908 Price List
Noah's Ark was the predecessor of, the "seed", of Long's Gardens
The seed store remained in downtown Boulder for many years. Meanwhile a place “just north of town” (our current location) was purchased in 1916 to propagate the seeds and bulbs sold in the downtown store. In the late 1940’s, the downtown location was closed, and our operations were consolidated at the north Broadway farm. It is no longer “just north of town” but more “in the middle of town” since Boulder has grown. Besides being the beginning of Long’s Gardens, 1905 was also the beginning of the partnership of J.D. with his wife and fellow Iowan, Cora Curtis.

They raised three children, Carleton, Everett, and Elizabeth as well as crops of iris, gladiolus, dahlias, peonies, and a plethora of other flowers, vegetables and fruits.  Carleton and Elizabeth married and pursued other careers away from Boulder. Everett gradually took over the business from his father.

Ev married Anne McLaughlin in 1940. They spent their honeymoon hiking the high country to the west of Boulder scouting out possible sights for Ev to build an irrigation dam. Ev was determined to make Long’s Gardens work and in a farming operation in a semi-arid climate, reliable water was a must. After a stint as a civilian flight instructor in World War II, Ev returned to finish building the dam, and after several years of work, Upper Woodland Lake was transformed into Skyscraper Reservoir. As it became harder to find rental farm ground around Boulder for the gladiolus, and the business concentrated on the more drought tolerant irises, the need for Skyscraper Reservoir diminished and it was sold to the City of Boulder.

Ev also brought Long’s Gardens into the machine age, having had several less than pleasant experiences with horses in building the dam. The Farmall H and two Allis-Chalmers G tractors he purchased in the 1940’s and 1950’s are still in use today.

Anne and Ev had two daughters, Margaret and Catherine. Margaret pursued a career in Social Services throughout Colorado helping others, but still finds time to lend a helping hand at Long’s.

Catherine, like her father, gradually took over the business of running Long’s Gardens. A five year sojourn took her away from Boulder while her husband, Dennis Gates, was in the Air Force in Washington State. Dennis rertired from a flying career as a captain with Frontier Airlines and now on his days at home is a full time partner with Catherine in Long’s Gardens, piloting tractors instead of airplanes.

Multiple generations of other family members, friends, neighbors, employees, and loyal customers have supported Long’s Gardens for over a century. Now you are helping to write the second century of history – Many Thanks!

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