Light up the Garden with Bulbs!

    • Plant pansies, snapdragons, stock, calendulas and primroses now to replace summer annuals.
    • Divide artichoke plants which have been in the ground for three or four years. Mulch established plants with steer manure.
    • Protect the pond from the worst of the leaf fall with a fine-mesh net over the surface of the pond.
    • Garlic sets can be planted now for an easy crop that you can harvest next spring.
    • Plant cover crops in the garden where summer plants have finished. Fava beans and crimson clover will grow through the winter and improve your soil for spring planting.

Landscaping with Bulbs

Landscaping with bulbs is a great way to make your home beautiful year after year. With just a little effort, you can create dazzling carpet of spring color.

Bulbs are much more impressive when planted en masse. Uniform color and texture creates an impressive visual effect. To make this happen requires a little planning.

The novice gardener often makes the mistake of planting tulips or daffodils in a straight line along a walkway like ducks in a row. It is much better to plant them in groups of at least a dozen. In fact the best way to make an impact with a small grouping of bulbs is to plant them in a triangle formation with the point of the triangle toward the viewer. This will fool the eye into seeing more flowers than you have actually planted!

Of course, if you have the room to plant 50 bulbs of a kind, you can have a really spectacular show. In Holland at Keukenhof Gardens, they plant 70 acres of bulbs to bloom each spring, in huge drifts of solid colors. Their fabulous display gardens are world famous. An interesting technique that they use is planting in layers.

Bulbs are planted on top of each other, in different layers.  The late-blooming tulips are placed deepest in the ground; above them early-blooming tulips; and above them crocus. This way flowers will bloom at the same spot in the park, from early in the season until late in the season, giving a continuous display of color.

Plant bulbs of one color in small spaces in the landscape. One color will have greater impact and make the planting space look larger. In large spaces, a planting of two or three colors will have the best effect. Select colors that blend together and don’t mix them: group each color together in interlocking shapes.

Another way to use bulbs for landscaping is called “naturalizing”. Naturalizing is the process of imitating nature by planting in irregular clumps scattered over the landscape. A grassy hillside dotted with yellow daffodils is a glorious sight.

Most bulbs like to be planted in full sun, though some will tolerate partial shade. It works well to plant under deciduous trees because the bulbs will bloom before the trees leaf out, so they will get the sun they need.

You can also interplant bulbs and pansies for a long-lasting spring flower show. Plant the pansies between the bulbs so the bulbs can easily come up between them. You can choose pansies with faces, or the solid colored ones. Little violas also make a lovely ground cover over bulbs.

Bulbs are one of the easiest ways to add beauty and color to the landscape. And this is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs so they will be ready to flower next spring.

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