Bulb garden plans

jokuehn(5)September 17, 2013

Hi,

I would like to make a bulb garden with spring bulbs and some irises, but have a lot of questions that maybe someone could help me with. First question, can you plant spring bulbs in between the 12-24 feet that you leave between the iris bulbs? I understand that the corms expand within a couple of years and that is why you leave so much space, but If I don't plant in between, I won't have any room for anything other than the irises. I have 50 bulbs coming in the mail and want a bulb garden that will last from early spring to early summer.

The bulbs I have coming are 10 each of Dutch irises (variety of color), crocuses (variety of color), starflower, red tulips, grape hyacinth. I also have 12 or so corms from purple irises that I divided earlier (I already gave a bunch away). Any plan ideas for a 5 ft by 10 ft patch, please let me know. I have two yellow mums that I have left on either end and a trumpet vine trellised in the center.

I am new to bulb gardens. Thanks for your help.

Thanks,

Jolene

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florauk(8/9)

Firstly, are you sure you meant 12 - 24 feet between the irises? Not inches?

Secondly, yes, you can plant bulbs between the irises.

Thirdly, 50 bulbs, will look a bit sparse in 50 sq feet especially since some are very small and they will all bloom at different times. And they don't last long. Tulips for example could be over in a few days if the weather is wet and windy.The basic rule with bulbs is always to buy far more than you think you will need. They look very sad when thinly scattered in bare earth. For example, if I was planting daffodils or tulips I'd put at least 9 per sq foot. and plant them in clump, not a square or row.

My personal preference is not for a bulb garden at all but to mix bulbs in with perennials, shrubs and trees. Bulbs alone lead to a very short show and a very samey kind of feel imo. But that's just my personal taste.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:45PM
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jokuehn(5)

Hi,

Yes, I meant inches. (hahaha). I should have been a little more clear. I was planning on putting other perennials in there. Even so, it sounds like I should get some more bulbs!

Jolene

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 4:44PM
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jokuehn(5)

Obviously, math and spatial areas are not my thing. I originally wrote this post away from home and tried to visualize the area I had to plant in. I was completely off. My husband went and checked and the area is only 3.5 feet x 12. Sorry. I am thinking that I will have enough bulbs then?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 6:06PM
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florauk(8/9)

Hi again - so now you're down to 42 square feet. So not massively smaller than your previous estimate of 50 sq f.

I think it would be a good idea to check the expected bloom times of each of the bulbs you have bought and do a scale plan on a piece of paper of your flower bed including the likely dates of blooming. Then you can see where you are likely to have blank areas and buy more bulbs.

Alternatively, you could just decide to have a few decent sized clumps of things and live with the empty space between until the next clump comes into bloom.

The worst scenario in my book would be to try to spread too few bulbs evenly over the whole space.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:34AM
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jokuehn(5)

Hi,

Sounds like a good plan. I think I will need more tulips at any rate as right now I only have one tulip color. Thanks for your help.

Jolene

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 1:16PM
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florauk(8/9)

Nothing wrong with one colour. In fact if you only have a few tulips I, personally, think they look a whole lot better one colour than a hotch potch. Maybe you need some tulips that flower at different times rather than several colours all flowering at once, so they're divided by time as well as colour.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:22PM
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jokuehn(5)

Yep, you are right. Without looking at my list (which got me in trouble before), I have only early spring blooms in that group of bulbs that's coming in the mail. (Other than the irises) So I will just try to get some mid to late spring bulbs too to fill it in a little bit. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:29PM
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