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Bulb Pathway Naturalization

Posted by MFIX Buff-NY Z5 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 19, 12 at 13:20

Just had a stepping stone path finished to my new backyard hardscape. I have one side of the pathyway, along our garages with a couple shrubs and perennials (azalea, chocolate snakeroot and astilbe). The garage provides afternoon shade for this spot. I planted roughly 50 iris bulbs closest to the stones, which were planted in new soil that our landscapers graded for replanting our torn up turf. I didnt want to create a formal "bed" for this border, as I have done alot of landscaping and wanted a simpler fix. Two questions, will these iris look good in this capacity with the turf? Also, should I plant some more bulbs outside of the irises, and if so? should they be taller, shorter, or the same height? Hard to tell with any open natural look, what would work best. Maybe I should just go with the mass of irises, but think maybe something that blooms after them might be beneficial for moving into summer. BTW, they are dutch iris, blue magic. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bulb Pathway Naturalization

Could you give us a picture of the situation? My understanding is that you have planted Dutch Iris in turf in shade. Am I right? If I have got this right I am not sanguine about their being happy there. They need plenty of sun and no competition from grass. They are not great naturalisers in the way daffodils or snowdrops are.

Whether you plant more bulbs outside the irises is up to you but shorter types might be hidden and would get even less light than the iris. Fifty sounds like a lot and you don't say how long the path is, but they may not make the 'mass' you hope for. So maybe something else is called for in addition.

RE: Bulb Pathway Naturalization

  • Posted by MFIX Buff-NYZ5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 23, 12 at 16:39

Thanks for the tips. The pathway is not very long, maybe only 10 feet total, so this amount of bulbs would provide a healthy swath of border. The grass is so new and sparse, since it was a landscaper simply covering their tracks, I think the competition would be minimal in the beginning, but I am thinking of creating a proper, mulched border for the bulbs in the spring. They would not be in shade necessarily: this side of the home faces East/Southeast so shade comes in Spring after probably 6 hours, so this is on the cusp of full sun, and not necessarily on the good side. Not sure if it will be enough. Willing to try though, if it doesnt look good in the spring, I could dig them up, and move them into another area. I did also pick up some tulips for this area, havent planted them as yet. Many neighbors have tulips along similar pathways to their backyards in-between their house and their neighbors, I thought these would work as well, any thoughts?

RE: Bulb Pathway Naturalization

It sounds like a beautiful idea - the path edged with blue magic dutch irises. Since these are the ones with the yellow spot on the falls I think a lovely accompaniment would be a perennial plant known as Aurinia montanum or Mountain Gold. There are several varieties with different shades of yellow. It is mounding and grows about a foot tall and blooms in the early spring. These two plants should bloom at the same time with the colors really playing off of one another. Also, the mounding nature of the Aurinia will let the dutch irises grow right though them and out the top providing support for the sometimes topheavy irises (so they don't fall over into the dirt/grass). The Aurinia's clumping nature should also keep the grass at bay.
I wouldn't do the tulips in the same spot as the irises, but that is just my opinion - opinions are like buttholes: everybody's got one ;-)

RE: Bulb Pathway Naturalization

I live a couple of hours northwest of Buffalo, so close to the same zone. I'm not sure that dutch irises are very hardy in this area. I can grow the bulbous Iris reticulata, no problem, but have always avoided spending money on dutch irises, because I thought they were not hardy here.

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