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more tulip and daffodil questions

Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 18, 08 at 10:39

Hi all,

Bulb planting is new to me. I'm thinking of planting tulips and daffs at the base of an ornamental tree, which is bordered with Virginia Fieldstone. Right now there's only a patch of grass at the base which I'll have to remove.

What is a good overplanting for bulbs in full sun?

What can I expect after the blooms are spent? Will the foliage last through fall?

I'm just concerned about a "muddy" mess during a rainfall if there is nothing at the base of the tree - the Fieldstone border butts up against my driveway and a lannonstone walkway.

This is an older picture during the installation of the patio and pre-lannonstone walkway (behind the tree), but it gives you a general idea.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

Would Lamium with silvery leaves and either white or 'pink' flowers be an option?

I'm guessing you'd want to naturalise the bulbs as the maples sometimes have a lot of near surface feeder roots and wouldn't appreciate the annual ritual of bulb lifting. Smaller bulbs, such as snowdrops, species tulips, and some of the multi-flowered Narcissus could come up in open patches or through the Lamium.

Vinca minor would give a deep green cover under the maple and would probably flower. It works pretty well for disguising/distracting from withered brown leaves.

Apart from a few 'hang on a see what's for Christmas' Narcissus (such as Earlicheer) most of them have finished by late spring, early summer and are ready for lifting if necessary. (Leaves have browned, dried off, fallen away. Check that your area is not plagued by Narcissus fly. They lay their eggs just where the leaves have left a hole. When they hatch the maggots settle in to the middle of the bulb and feast on next year's flower and leaves. Disheartening - and squishing the little pests is no consolation at all.)

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 3:02

Hi Vetivert,

Thank you for the suggestions and feedback. Lamium sounds nice - I was thinking of planting some at the base of my purple leaf sandcherry, but wasn't sure how I was going to contain them (I heard they spread like crazy). Underneath the tree would be a perfect spot, since they're already contained, and the color contrast would look nice against the tree foliage.

I have Vinca Minor under my maple tree up front - rather slow to get going (this is the fourth year), so I'd probably not go that route though it is a pretty plant.

I guess I'll have to play around a bit to see what I like.

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

That tree's roots are probably going to push up the pavement one day, in the future. Also, it seems pretty close to the house---you realize it will get wider as time goes by! One of the charms of these trees is the way they spread out their branches as they mature.

If it was my yard, I would dig up the tree while it was still fairly young & move it farther away from the house. Not trying to make you work harder, : -- )

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 28, 08 at 0:41

My uncle has these trees all over his property - 20 years at least and they grow taller than wider - they are just next to his foundation - these trees haven't pushed up any pavement, or otherwise. They are more ornamental and don't grow to be very large. They'll only double in size at best.

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

It looks like the tree is a Japanese Maple. If that's the case, the roots will "behave" for a very long time. I adore Japanese Maples. Usually, they do best in part shade, which means that Hostas, Daylilies and other part-shade perennials will do well there. I don't know what qualifies as "part-shade" in your part of the world--just about everything needs some shade here in high-altitude scorching sunny desert. I know that shade is "darker" East of the Continental Divide because you guys have real clouds and humidity and stuff like that.

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

That's a very small space for any elaborate planting scheme. A few daffs with maybe some of the smaller bulbs - muscari, Siberian Scilla, Puschkinia. As for a permanent sun loving ground cover type plant, you could get away with one Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi(aka bearberry, kinnikinnick)"Massachusetts" which was readily available at all the big boxes - at least here - this season. It's very low growing and would be unlikely to interfere with the tree roots. Nice dark green leaves, pink flowers in the spring, red berries, and the foliage turns bronze over the winter.

RE: more tulip and daffodil questions

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 2, 08 at 2:53

Thought I'd let everyone know I decided to give up on the bulbs in this area.

The tree roots are probably too shallow and just don't want to risk losing the tree - it hasn't even had time to establish itself yet.

I purchased Lamium Silver Beacon today - I thought that would go well in this area, and should fill in pretty fast (next spring).

Thanks to EVERYONE for your wonderful ideas - I appreciate the feedback.


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