What Would You Do?

foosacubOctober 4, 2009

Recently moved north, have an odd, pain-to-mow area tucked away. Approximately 10ft wide and 7ft deep, gets a lot of sun, decent drainage... I'm thinking about filling it with bulbs, tallest in the rear, etc. I'm tired of pink, but love purples, peaches, oranges, yellows, and anything out-of-the-ordinary looking.

What would you put in there? I've got too many ideas, and need a starting place. I'm not sure what grows well here. TIA! :)

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

First, of all, you need to give yourself adequate time for thinking and planning. In my opinion, you will make a mistake to just start planting bulbs in an empty area. While bulbs are wonderful plants, they are not, for the most part, suitable for creating a garden by themselves. Most of their blooms are brief, only once a year, and are then followed by weeks or months of dead and dying foliage. Add to that the difficulty of finding them once they are planted, which makes it highly likely you'll cut them and kill them when adding other plants later.

Personally, I would spend the winter reading, looking at pictures of great gardens, making a list of plants that you like, and then finding out if those plants will do well in your area. When I design and plant a new bed, bulbs are always included, and they are always the very last to go into the ground.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 8:59AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Donna is right in that you need to think past the time when it will be in bloom in the spring.

If you want to plant things yet this fall, I would group them such that you can then plant other things (perennials or annuals) also in the bed next year. I would consider maybe putting in a few irises next spring, just a fan or 2 of a few different ones though as they spread quickly. You might want a peony or 2 or 3 spaced out in there....a few daylilies, maybe a few lilies grown from bulbs (Asiatic, Oriental-FRAGRANT ones) which might be available and planted yet this fall.

Just a suggestion...you might want to change your zone and location in your member profile, so it will automatically show your new location and zone.

Be careful when buying bulbs locally though as often they will not be hardy for your area, and will have to be lifted and stored from one season to the next. Freezias come to mind as well as anemones that have never returned for me though they were 'supposed' to be hardy here. The non hardy ones are usually sold locally in the Spring though.

Also...when buying tulips (if interested in them) there are only a few varieties that are hardy and perform as perennials....can provide more info on them if needed.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 10:16AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

'A pain-to-mow, tucked away' area.
Do you visit it frequently? Do you like to go there?

Do you think of it as a 'display' garden? Or a 'service' garden?

If you're thinking strictly bulbs then you could treat the area as a cutting garden and an 'experiments' zone where you could test out bulbs, colours, combinations that seem possible but you'd like to know more before you 'go public' with them.

You'd need to create good access through it and divide it enough so you could keep it well-fed and weeded.

Maybe like a 'Square Foot Garden'... For growing on and multiplying expensive Dahlias and lilies and Hemerocallis, and spring bulbs. For putting in cloches to extend the seasons at either end - and keep the pests at bay.

For checking the actual flowering times of varieties. There is something deflating about buying two varieties that look drop-dead gorgeous and will be stunning together - and one flowers three weeks after the other in your garden. Bah! Humbug!

Just - treat it as a utility area and be strict with yourself otherwise such a useful area will rapidly become home to all manner of waifs and strays and nameless gifts.

Have a happy winter's plotting and scheming!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 5:45AM
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