All Season Bulb Bed

green_panther(Upstate NY)April 2, 2008

I would love to put in an allseason bulb bed. Anyone have any resouces? Online links or beds they have put in themselves?

Due to the alternating planting times of the different bulbs, I am currently thinking three tiers (spring, summer & fall)...

ANy ideas would be great and any experience - awesome!

Happy Gardening - Miranda

PS- I am in zone 5/6 Central/Upstate NY

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gardengal48

Is there a specific reason you wish to isolate the bulbs to their own planting area? I generally favor mixed planting areas and I think the aesthetics of a devoted-solely-to-bulbs planting bed may offer some challenges and not necessarily produce the results you wish. Also, you should be aware that the culture requirements of all bulbs are not necessarily the same - spring blooming bulbs like narcissus and tulips, etc. prefer to be kept on the dry side during the summer months, whereas summer bulbs like dahlias will appreciate regular deep summer irrigation. To make one happy you may sacrifice the well-being of the other.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:13AM
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green_panther(Upstate NY)

I will most likely integrate a couple of perennials to cover up the dying folliage of the spring bulbs if I have to...

I am looking for an all bulb bed because right now I have bulbs everywhere in my garden - I am constantly rearranging, adding and changing and cringe every time I slice into a hidden bulb. If I have an all bulb bed it will be off limits and take care of itself (for the most part).

My summer bulbs would most likely include lilies and such as I would have to lift the dahlias every fall...

Am I asking too much of a garden? LOL Maybe I DO live in a dream world...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Nell Jean

My solution is to plant spring bulbs in dedicated areas of a larger bed, like in a crescent shape on the ends. I plant early blooming annuals like larkspur and corn poppies to hide the dying foliage. I have some large daffodil areas that are dedicated to daffodils only and are covered in rough grass in summer.

Fall bulbs I plant as winter edging along beds. Lycoris radiata is green in the winter and dies back about the time spring bulbs finish blooming. The flowers spring up in the fall on 'naked' stems and then the foliage returns for the winter. Sternbergias work well in front of spreading plants like lantana that die back with frost.

I leave part of the dead stems on summer bulbs like lilies until the spring so as to mark their spaces. I don't want dying spring bulb foliage among my emerging summer bulbs, so they have different beds and they have different water needs as mentioned above. I know where the crinums are, they don't fit with just anybody and they don't move over.

It takes careful orchestration to make everything look its best. I hope to live long enough to get it right.
Nell

Here is a link that might be useful: Crinums and other Summer Delights

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 12:21AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I read in "Garden Bulbs for the South" that dutch irises make a nice planting around and among crinums. I am going to try it next year.

green panther, I agree with gardengal. I don't think you would find an all-bulb bed to be as nice as you think. What you can do to prevent damaging your bulbs is to underplant permanent deciduous shrubs with spring blooming bulbs (same goes for large ornamental grasses). The bulbs help to green up these areas during the winter and then die back as their large companions take over for summer.
I also have luck planting between perennials that aren't divided very often, and by planting bulbs in the exact center between their perennial companions. This way, I know where they are and can avoid disturbing them with my spade. Nell is right. It may well take a lifetime to get it just right, but the fun is in the learning and trying.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 2:22PM
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