How do you grow bulbs in spring? Now here is a different idea. Instead of growing them in a formal-looking bed, try growing them naturally. All this means, a more natural look, and less maintenance; a win-win situation for the average lazy gardener.
With bulbs, naturalizing them and doing away with stiff looking beds may oftentimes create a better impression. Try planting the bulbs in broad sweeps of a few dozen stems in each given area, which you’d try to keep small for concerted visual effect. This is better than planting a great mass of bulbs; the only times these look nice is in the case of tulips (but I’m sure you are not just planting tulips).
Some specifics of naturalizing bulbs
Plant the bulbs close together, but don’t plant them in symmetrical rows, so that they look casual. “Casual” is the way to go for gardening these days, so do make an effort to get it in your system 😀
Scatter bulbs on the ground, and plant them right where they fell. Three or five bulbs of a certain variety in front of a dark colored stump or boulder gives a nice effect. Plant them in large numbers, alternating between thicker and thinner spots.
You should plant your bulbs where their foliage is able to die down naturally after the blooming period, because these bulbs will be forming next year’s buds. If you remove the leaves before they wither on their own, you may have fewer blossoms next spring, or maybe even none at all – the bulbs need their leaves to make food.
All the common spring bulbs will bloom in semi-shaded areas. So if you plant them underneath and in front of dark greens, they will enhance the background and draw attention to themselves. Planting them under deciduous trees makes sense, because by the time the trees provide heavy shade, the bulbs would have gone dormant. Stone walls, dark rocks, and “wild” places in your garden will be complemented by the charming sweeps of these bulbs.
Some kinds of spring bulbs such as daffodils, grape hyacinths, and crocuses do increase with each season. Others like tulips, do not increase in number, but they are still one of the best bulbs for spring. Some bulbs need replacing every few years for best results; Dutch hyacinths and tall stemmed tulips are among these. If you are going for low maintenance gardening, you should consider carefully if you want to use bulbs that quickly overgrow their area, or rapidly produce multiple offshoots.
Here are two kinds of suitable bulbs for spring planting:
Crocuses (members of the iris family) are some of the best spring bulbs you can grow. They can even grow during late winter. There are about 80 species’ of crocus, and if you want fast winter blooms, there are the “snow crocuses” to consider.
A fast bloomer is the Crocus tomasinianus (Tommie Crocus). This is a small lavender bloom, but in larger numbers, they match well with Crocus susianus (Cloth of Gold Crocus). Both these crocuses reproduce quite vigorously. Other “fast” crocuses to plant include the Dutch Crocus, Mountain’s Glory (Celandine Crocus), and Ankara Crocus (Golden Bunch). Crocuses come in many shades of color, so you’re never spoilt for choice.
Daffodils (Narcissus) are another great spring bulb that is good for naturalizing. They tend to multiply over time, and are among the least expensive of bulbs, both in price and maintenance. Daffodils are sometimes called jonquils, but to be correct, jonquils were meant to refer to a type of daffodil called Narcissus jonquilla and any hybrids derived from it.
Daffodils actually need a spell of cold before they can even bloom; they really like it cool, and spring is when they display their glory for all to see. For best results, grow them in the company of plants that have a similar shallow rooting system. If you’re planting them as a drift under a deciduous tree, try planting them as far out as possible, away from the trunk, since they don’t really like shade.
Daffodil bulbs can live for a long time under the right conditions. Be alert to pests like snails and slugs; they love chomping at anything resembling a daffodil!
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