Bulbs forum: How to do a bulb meadow in the lawn?

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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Mar 24, 2010 4:28 PM CST
I can't figgure out how to do bulbs in the lawn. I have always planted bulbs in real gardenbeds and around mulched shrub areas. Its very cottage garden here and it is mulched just about everywhere. I actually have grassy pathways that are what is leftover of the lawn as the gardenbeds kept expanding. But I do have one open area of lawn left and I would like to keep it and not mulch or make it into gardenbed.

I could just see in my mind a sea of daffoldils, crocus, grape hyacith and maybe Iris reticulata and dutch iris. No tulips as that just seems like it shouldn't be in the lawn.

How to accomplish this? Do you just dig holes and plant directly in the grass? Seems like that might work for the really small bulbs but the daffs would have to go much deeper, harder to do. I always read plant daffs in drifts? Never figgured out how to manage that. Then it would look like who knows what when it was done with all the holes in the lawn.

Would all these bulbs come up thru the grass? They don't have any problems pushing thru the mulch around here. Would it better to stick to small bulbs like crocus and grape hyacinth?
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 25, 2010 4:47 PM CST
Rita, as you said, the little bulbs are easy, big bulbs like Daffodils take some work. Choosing varieties that are specified as good naturalizers or perennializers is important. Those are vigorous enough to emerge through thick sod and multiply well. One thing that makes it easier is to order "landscape rounds", smaller bulbs that are easier to plant, usually single nosed bulbs that will each produce 1 bloom. Also, some of the best naturalizers are small varieties, like Jet Fire or Tete a tete, that just naturally have smaller bulbs. A trowel or bulb planter can be used for smaller bulbs, I used a trowel to plant the 'February Gold' in the pic. The grass was already thin there from the pine needles, so cutting through the sod wasn't bad.

For some of the big bulbs that I've planted in lawn space, where the sod was thick, I cut out areas of sod with the spade, peeled them up, and laid them aside. Then cultivated the soil, and planted the bulbs, and put the sod right back in place. For say 20-50 bulbs, I cut out a larger section or two, then some smaller clumps around them, tapering to small clumps of 3 bulbs. That was my effort to have the appearance of large clumps that have increased naturally, and it worked well.

Earlier flowering varieties are best, the foliage gets finished doing its thing faster for mowing. I'm not sure about some of the little Irises, but the Iris reticulata cultivars grow taller foliage after the flowers fade, so I don't think it would be a good one for lawn use. I have no experience with I.histeroides(sp?), not sure if the foliage does the same thing.

Thumb of 2010-03-25/gemini_sage/46f2d6
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 26, 2010 6:28 PM CST
These are one of the best Daffodils for planting in the lawn, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, the heirloom species naturalized throughout much of the southeast. Not many vendors sell them anymore. They multiply beautifully, and the bulbs are small and easy to plant. They're usually my first to start blooming too.

Thumb of 2010-03-27/gemini_sage/b556e8
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Mar 26, 2010 8:40 PM CST
They are very pretty.

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