Minor bulbs: mass planting

ego45(6bCT)September 27, 2005

Lately I'm getting lazier and lazier and this year I decided to try a new (for me) method: don't dig, just plant on a top of the existing soil.

Last year I start to built 'muscari river', but barely made my half way thru.

There were two reasons, a) not enough bulbs (I bought 300 only) and b) that bed never ever was cultivated, mulch simply cover hard native clay mixed with rocks. I spent much more time and effort to dig rocks than for planting itself.

This year I just removed top layer of mulch, slightly tilled what was tillable and simply placed bulbs on top of that so-called soil:

Then covered with 2-3" of old plain top soil:

and put back all original mulch:

Done. 400 bulbs were 'planted' effortless in less than 45 minutes.

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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I can't wait to see the results. :-) Please post photos next spring.

I think I'll follow your example. In March, I covered my back lawn with cardboards & newspapers then piled several inches of mulch on top of the papers. I dug up the area a couple weeks ago and found that the Zoysia grassroots were not totally dead, eventhough I had replaced the papers several times this summer. Most of the papers have disintegrated.

I am expecting several hundred minor bulbs to arrrive this week. I'll just displace the mulch and modify your method and hope for the best. :-) The ground is too clayey to plant minor bulbs. I have several bags of topsoil and peagravel & crushed limestone ready.

Thank you for posting the great ideas. :-) And sharing the beautiful garden too!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:02AM
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Great idea! Love it, love it, love it. Also love the Harry Lauder's Walking Stick in the background.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:13PM
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Nell Jean

A river of muscari is one of my favorite planting notions.

One thing about a river, you can extend it year by year.
Another thing is, it always takes more bulbs than you thought
for these projects.
You can start with a trickle and keep adding.

The perspective you're working with is wonderful.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 12:59PM
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Thank you for this nice documentation;

regardless to your progredient lazyness you are speculating on (*ggg*) your garden is looking very accurate and well-husbanded
The previous arrangement of white-and-blue is well-done I thought (immediately)

certainly the biggest fault would be to plant alternately blue-white-blue
what an imagination...

For the actual way you performed the mixture I confirm:
A fabulous perspective


    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 6:13PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

I'll be most interested in your results, George, as I have several spots under trees that I'd like to plant but will never be able to till. This fall, I will try the drill, but it's been so dry, I'm not confident that even the drill will work.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 2:06PM
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As promised, spring pictures.
April 1st.
Just sprouted:

One week later:


Probably in a week or so when all flowers will be open I'd of have a better picture, but I'm going on vacation and want to show this.
This 'river' still need some fine tuning in a fall (remove hosta, widen the upper portion, add more whites), but overall I'm happy with the end result.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 7:57PM
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really beautiful! I like the way you turned the urn on its side where the flow began. Lazy sounds like genius to me! I'll remember it!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 9:56PM
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Instead of purchasing bulbs each year to finish off the river, take the ripe seed stalks and sprinkle the seeds over the area that you want the river to continue. It will take 3-4 years before the seedlings are blooming size but...no more digging holes for new bulbs. Muscari are among the more prolific self seedering bulbs for me (along with allium, scillia, chionodoxa, tulipa tarda)


    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 2:56PM
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roadtrip(z6 OH)

I love your photos!! I would add some soil to that urn on it's side, perhaps buring it somewhat and see if you can't plant a few inside it to complete the illusion that the 'river' starts there.

Was also just going to add that you should watch the muscari closely. It can spread rapidly from both seed and bulbets. What you have going on with the river is awsome, so I'd hate to see your river become a lake or ocean (although both would be a sight to see) of blue in your bed if left unchecked. I too am in zone 6 and not sure how 'invasive' the muscari can be here as I've just planted some here myself, but have read gardeners in zones 7-8 are wishing themselfs rid of the stuff.

Just a little food for thought. When mine produced flowers and those flowers were spent, and they started producing seed, so I clipped the stalks before the seed could ripen and drop. I wanted to enjoy the blooms as long as I could and the lower blossoms seemed to be the ones that withered first and had already started producing seed pods before the tops has fully begun looking spent.

Thanks for sharing!!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 1:56PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

Very nice!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 9:12PM
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broomhildah(7/8 VA)

I've not had much luck with muscari. For one thing their foliage looks disturbingly like the wild onions that constantly threaten to take over my flowerbeds and therefore get weeded out. And I think also, that the hosta, lillies, and astilbe block so much sun that the muscari cannot absorb enough nutrients to carry them thru to the next year. So I'm curious, what do you do with your beautiful "river" after the flowers are finished?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 10:12AM
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Nell Jean

Ego, they're wonderful. My 'trickle' turned out better than I expected and I hope for bigger and bluer next year.

Broomhilda, I seeded corn poppies to take over when the muscari finished and they're doing the job. As soon as the muscari fades away, there are dwarf marigold seedlings waiting to fill some empty spaces.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 10:25PM
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One year later

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 9:41AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)


    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 10:37AM
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Do these grow wild?
I have something like these all over our property in weird places...their spread out and Im sure no one planted them there.
Ill try and get a pic to post!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:28AM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

Great results! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:35PM
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