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Entries in alliums (2)

Monday
Oct062014

Plant Today for Your Spring Display

Daffodils and grape hyacinth brighten up a still sleepy spring landscape. The yew hedge behind offers evergreen color year round, but in the spring the bulbs shine as they bloom.

Have you ever walked past a magnificent garden in the early springtime and thought, “Wow, those flowers are beautiful! What are they?” Chances are they’re spring flowering bulbs, which brighten the landscape when many other shrubs, trees and perennials are still dormant. Bulbs range from the common tulips, daffodils, and crocus to the specialty alliums, trout lily, and snowdrops. All contribute something magical to the landscape.

Part of our role as landscape design professionals is to remind our clients in the fall to think about the future and plant bulbs now for a show stopping display in the spring. It is important to plant before the ground freezes so the bulbs can grow some roots and absorb some moisture. Our sweet spot on Long Island for planting bulbs is in November. Bulbs need to go through a phase of cool temperatures like winter before they can bloom. 

Layering different types of bulbs, staggering bloom time and heights, will give you a more diverse display.

Planting depth varies for each type of bulb. Tulips and Daffodils need to be planted deeper than crocus. When designing, think about the bloom time of each type of bulb and the height. Mixing several types of daffodils that bloom in early, middle and late spring will give you a long display of flowers. When working with different heights, plant the lower growing bulbs in front if they flower at the same time. We like to plant pansies among flowering bulbs in the spring so when the bulbs are done flowering we still have some color while waiting to plant summer flowers.  Also, follow the guide nature gives us. Nothing grows in a straight line naturally. Make sure to plant bulbs in groupings whether it is a small or large area you’re covering for the best display. Massing is important with bulbs. 50 flowers scattered throughout a bed can get lost but 50 flowers gathered together make you stop, look, and admire.

Fertilization is important for any plant. As people, we make sure to ingest nutrients we need to stay healthy. The same idea applies to our plants. They use the nutrients found in the soil but those nutrients need to be replenished. We work either organic compost or bone meal into the soil around new plantings.

Grape hyacinth (muscari) and daffodil cluster naturally around a small boulder. Daffodils and muscari naturalize in the landscape, meaning they naturally divide and spread to fill in.One more thing we like to tell our clients is that bulbs are a great bang for your buck. Some varieties of bulbs naturalize and spread themselves out over time. It is hard to wait for spring when annuals and perennials can give you instant landscape gratification, but we promise it is worth it. Spring flowering bulbs also make great cut flowers, allowing you to bring a bit of spring into the house with you. Drop us a line and talk to us about flowers and ways to add beauty to your garden.

Call us at (631) 271-6460 or email us if you have any questions.

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Thursday
Oct042012

Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs!

I got a great question today about bulbs: "What is a bulb's life span? How many years before I have to replant?"

Red Tulips & Mixed DaffodilsIt depends on the type of bulb. Daffodils should multiply and come back every year, tulips you might get a few years out of but they will never be as nice as the first year. Bulb growers cut the flowers off and ship the bulbs the next year with all that extra energy stored inside. Daffodils are the only critter resistant bulb, so if you have a ton of squirrels or deer, stick with them or plant your tulips under chicken wire so they can't dig them up.

I'm crazy about bulbs, they're one of my favorite plants because I like to make arrangements with them all over my house. I add something to my yard every year! There are so many different varieties out there. Make sure you plant them at the right depth and water thoroughly after. A nice deep fertilization after they're done blooming can help them store up energy for the next season.

Tulips, Pansies, DaffodilsAs far as designs go, I love to mix and match and plant big masses. Use light and dark combinations of tulips to play off each other, such as light and dark pink. Daffodils come in so many colors, sizes and bloom periods now you can have a garden of just daffodils for months! Fragrant daffodils make great cut flowers.

Snowdrops bloom quite possibly when snow is still on the ground. Crocus come up next and let us know spring is here. Hyacinths show up around Easter & Passover. After that comes the riot of color from daffodils and tulips, then alliums to usher in the summer. The giant globe shape of some of the alliums make a statement in a bed of liriope or other groundcover. They also make for great cut flowers and you can let them dry out and have an arrangement all year.

Hyacinth & Early, Mini Daffodils (Tete a Tete)

Bulbs don't need to be divided like perennials do for rejuvenation, but some bulbs will dig themselves deeper or into an awkward position which can inhibit growth and/or blooming. I turned over a bed of wood scilla (by happy accident when I was putting in new perennials and shrubs) that had been planted at least 15 years ago and it revived them and they're blooming great now.

The key to a show stopping bulb display is massing. If there weren't enough one year, add more for the next season. You can never have too many bulbs! They are probably the most cost efficient plant you can put in your garden, especially if you get a naturalizing variety which will multiply and bloom for many years.

Feel free to ask me any questions and get those bulbs in before the ground freezes!