With fall rapidly approaching after our blazingly hot and dry summer, it is time to think about if you are going to plant spring bulbs. Most people tend to dig a hole there and another one there and drop in a tulip or daffodil bulb. This results in a flower here and a flower there. That’s not exactly exciting. So what the alternatives?
HOW TO PLANT SPRING BULBS
Mass planting is certainly one alternative. This is where a large stretch of ground is tilled and planted with lots of bulbs in swaths or patterns. One bulb type is planted in each area and is placed close together. This usually looks great when everything is blooming. The problem is it looks like bare ground the rest of the time. To overcome this you can plant annuals in this area when the bulbs foliage has begun to die back. If you dig large patches of annuals, this is for you.
INTER PLANTING WITH PERENNIALS
If however, you don’t dig annuals that much, there is an alternative. That is to inter-plant spring bulbs among perennials such as Hosta or daylily, etc. Plant your perennials in a grid pattern according to their size.
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Then in the spaces between them, you dig holes for your bulbs. The idea is the perennials foliage will fill in after the bulbs have bloomed and hide the bulbs yellowing foliage. If you follow the plan below, you will also get a long blooming time from your bulbs. 1st the crocuses bloom, then the Glory of snow, then the daffodils, and finally the Crown Imperial.
HOW TO PLANT SPRING BULBS FOR LONG BLOOM PERIOD
1) Dig a 10 inch deep hole about a foot across. Throw some bulb fertilizer at the bottom of the hole. Put about 2 inches of soil on top of this.
2) Put 6 to 8 daffodil bulbs around the edge of the hole evenly spaced. Place a Crown imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) in the middle. If you don’t like the foxy smell of these flowers, fill this space instead with more daffodils.
3) Add 2 more inches of soil on top of this, then plant a dozen or more of one of my favorites, Glory of the snow (Chionodoxa forbesii).
4) Add 2 more inches of soil on top of this, then a 2 or 3 dozen crocuses or snowdrops (Galanthus).
5) Finish filling the hole.
If you decide to plant spring bulbs and do it effectively, you can dramatically improve the look of your four season landscape.
For more information on crocus, snow drops, and glory of snow see little bulbs.
Suzanne Campbell says
We naturalized hundreds of crocus in my mother’s front lawn years ago, and they keep coming back, making a pretty display as the snow is melting. The trick was planting them with a drill. Get a very large diameter drill bit (bigger than your bulbs) and just drill directly into the ground to plant the bulbs one by one all over the lawn. You can mostly knock the dirt back in to the holes, but tote around a little bucket of enriched soil for extra. You’ll spread more seed on the lawn in the spring anyway. A cordless drill would’ve been brilliant, but I didn’t have one, so I just used a really long extension cord and crawled around planting.
Love this! Oh my gosh. LOVE IT. Great idea! It’s hard to believe that ALL of those bulbs can exist in a 1×1 space, but I bet it is one glorious show.
I’ve been wondering what I can do under the japanese maple in the front yard that is underplanted with hostas and astilbe… NOW I have a plan. I look at that area from where I sit to work. I’ve probably never said these words before in my life, well, except in reference to football, but I can’t wait till fall! 🙂