Where The Bulbs Are

There comes a point with every garden where it starts getting difficult to figure out where to put all the plants that you (meaning, in this case, I) must have. It’s kind of like the irresistible mass meets the inflexible property line.

Geranium sidewalk border
Wild Geranium blooming in the Sidewalk Border on May 29. With luck, these blooms should be preceded by Glory-of-the-Snow, and followed by Drumstick Allium.

This happened with my most recent order of bulbs – not the Tulips that go in containers, but the others that will go in the ground. It wasn’t too bad with the Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa sardensis) and Drumstick Allium (Allium sphaerocephalon). Those went into the front of the Sidewalk Border, where the Wild Geranium blooms in May and June before starting to die back (usually) in late summer.

Glory-of-the-Snow should bloom in early April, just as the Wild Geranium is leafing out. And the Drumstick Alliums bloom in July, as the Wild Geranium is making its cranesbill seed pods. At 24″, the Drumstick Allium should be able to poke through the Geraniums and into the sunshine.

Celandine Poppy
Dalylily emerging in mid-April.

The Star of Persia Alliums (Allium christophii) were more of a challenge. I finally decided to plant them around the various Daylilies (Hemerocallis) growing along the east side of the Left Bank Bed. Star of Persia should bloom in May or June, while our Daylilies bloom in July and August. They should be tall enough that they won’t be shaded by the emerging Daylily foliage.

Finally, there were the Lilies. The ‘Sunny Morning’ Martagon Lilies went into the Back Garden Island Bed. I read they don’t necessarily bloom the first year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

DSC_0065
This corner got 5 ‘Casa Blanca’ Lilies.

Somehow I ended up ordering 10 ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lilies. Of these, 5 went into the front corner of the Driveway Border, which is covered with ‘Kit Kat’ Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii). This should be excellent for sharing the fragrance with sidewalk passersby.

The other five went in the Back Garden in front of our ‘Sally Holmes’ rose.I’m a little concerned that this will obscure Sally, but she’s usually not doing much by August, anyways. I was careful not to plant these bulbs into the Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), but rather into the odd mix of ground covers that surrounds Sally: Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria), Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis), and Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense).

After this order of bulbs was all tucked away, I realized I needed to order some more Species Tulips and Camassia. I know just where to put them, I think.

44 Comments on “Where The Bulbs Are

  1. 🙂 I so enjoy your blog! Reading today’s post brought to mind many occasions of me standing in my gardens, slowly turning with bulbs in hand wondering exactly where I thought I was going to put them.

  2. Ha! I just put in a second daffodil order yesterday and was feeling a bit sheepish about it. Glad to know I’m in good company!

  3. This post made me laugh. We’ve all been where you are, and we understand. I have 250 “minor” bulbs (2 species of Scilla and some snowdrops) sitting in my front hall waiting to be planted as I write this. Thank goodness they are small bulbs. For a funny take on all this, google “The Hidden Dangers of Botany”. The part about hoarding plants is spot on.
    Your combinations sound pretty and I look forward to seeing pictures next spring and summer.

    • Doesn’t it seem slightly offensive to call them “minor”? And thanks for telling me about that blog – it’s so great, and I love the Lego illustrations.

  4. I’m learning. This year, I learned that flowering seeds like zinniasm marigolds, etc. should be planted in March. The seed packages say plant in May to june…..and seeds will sprout 4 weeks after… wrong… It took 2 months, and bloomed in September… too late.

  5. All in with species tulips…love those little darlings! Amazed with your bulb line-up and ability to tuck them into the landscape. Such a delight come spring!

  6. I enjoy reading about your way of gardening. Gives me encouragement. 🙂

  7. I can’t tell you how much I love your garden….I’m all about the “I LOVE that plant…now where can I squeeze it in” type of garden. My ornamental areas are not at that stage yet, being relative babies, but I’m looking forward to the day when they are so full that I’ll be muttering those same words.

  8. So many plants, never enough space. The lament of gardeners is a little like the lament of book lovers, with the shortage being bookshelves instead of garden space, of course.

  9. Yes, it’s the gardener’s quandry–too many plants, not enough space. But it gives us something positive to fret about and that’s something!

  10. I’m impressed that you not only decided on spaces but actually got them in the ground. My bulbs are still sitting on the back porch waiting to be planted. We just need to live on several acres of land. Now I can’t get the tune of “Where the Boys Are” out of my head.

    • I was wondering if anyone would get that reference. You are the logical candidate to be that person. You can probably afford to dawdle more on bulb planting, I’m guessing the ground doesn’t freeze nearly as soon compared to here.

  11. Such an entertaining and interesting post!
    My problem, however, is the opposite: much space and not enough time, money and energy to fill it with lovely plants… but I’m working on it. 🙂
    Happy gardening!

  12. You are so good at layering. I’m always afraid I’ll disturb the roots or the tubers or the bulbs of the existing plants, so I tend to scatter seeds for layering. That often doesn’t work because the existing plants shade them out. Anyway, nice job with all your plantings. I added a few more bulbs this fall, too. I’m not keeping very good track of where I place them, so I guess I’ll have a few surprises in the spring. 😉

  13. Oh, I so want to find some Kit Kat catnip! I don’t have a lot of usable yard for bulbs (a lot of yard, just not bulb-friendly due to cedar trees and clay soil), but tuck them into corners of beds. My problem is using bone meal when I plant them. The dog digs them up to eat it!
    I have three cranesbill in containers, grown from seed this past winter (winter sown in milk jugs). No flowers yet, but pretty plants still.

    • ‘Kit Kat’ shouldn’t be too hard to find. Worst case you can order it from some place like Bluestone Perennials. It’s not a true catnip though, people usually call it “catmint”. Cats do like it, even so.

  14. I imagine you walking around the garden with a box of bulbs, like me – scratching my head and wondering where I can put them! Now you have reminded me I need some Cammassia too….

  15. Even I, with my 3.5 acre property, sometimes have a problem finding the right space for a plant! Sounds like you have an excellent plan. Your garden should have beauty throughout the growing season. Isn’t it wonderful when a plan works well?

  16. I’m so impressed that you have got your bulbs planted, I really must make a start on mine when I get back home tomorrow, my back is protesting already!

  17. Pingback: Where The Bulbs Are — gardeninacity | Old School Garden

  18. Oh, I have the same problem with bulbs, I often dig holes to plant them only to discover there are already forgotten bulbs there. Looking forward to seeing them all.xxx

  19. I got such a kick out of this post! I’m too familiar with the problem. A friend of mine has persuaded her neighbor to let her garden his lot as well as her’s. Smart! It makes for quite a sight when you turn onto their street. She also uses mostly native species, with tasteful splashes of cultivars.

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