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Strategic bulb placement

There is nothing better than getting outside this time of year to plant your spring blooming bulbs. It’s cold as hell, snot drips from your nose, the hands become borderline numb and the sky is overcast. Sweet!
And while it is fun to brave the elements, nothing beats trying to strategically determine where to plant the bulbs. I carry all of my bulbs around in a wheelbarrow and survey the landscape like a detective. This is work to be taken very seriously. A few questions that need to be answered: 
Where can I get the biggest bang for the buck?
Where are the best views from inside the house to see these bulbs?
What color schemes can I create between the bulbs and early blooming perennials?
How can I hide the decaying foliage of the bulbs once they are finished blooming?
That last question can be the trickiest of all and one I take very seriously. While the spring bloom display is sensational, I don’t want to then have the spent foliage take away from other plants that are then ready to put on their show. 
The key is to hide the dying foliage because you don’t want to cut it down. That dying foliage is what feeds the bulbs for the next year and is key to their survival. And there is no better way to hide the foliage then with  perennials that are putting on their heavy growth in spring. 
Case in point:
Here is a spot where I decided to plant some daffodil bulbs between the sedums:

I knew that sedums are quick to grow in spring and would be perfect for disguising the spent daffodil foliage.

Fast forward to spring and the daffodils were in full bloom:     

After they were done blooming, you can see the foliage still looks OK (top right in photo below):

By the time late summer rolled around, you wouldn’t even know they were planted there:

Which takes me to today.

I found another spot for more daffodils (‘Ice Follies’):

They would planted between a Spirea ‘Snowstorm’, a bunch of siberian irises and a few grasses. I figured the irises would shield the dying foliage from the most common view and eventually, everything else would crowd out the foliage all together.

And so the hole was dug (and did it ever feel good to do so):

Bulbs placed accordingly (I usually plant just a few to test drive a new bulb I’ve never had before):

And then boom, the soil is back in, the mulch is raked back over and we are good to go:

Now we just wait until spring and hope the floral display delivers as promised.

John

8 thoughts on “Strategic bulb placement”

  1. Like Janet, I find daylilies are great for hiding dying daffodil foliage, but not many other things can really do the job. As you say, it is the trickiest part, and the main reason I don’t grow many bulbs. Your gardens look wonderfully tidy, by the way, which I admire because mine rarely are.

  2. Great point about hiding spent bulb foliage. I plant a lot of bulbs beneath deciduous trees. They bloom while the trees are still bare but because of the shade later in the year, hostas are my foliage camouflage plants of choice. Your post is making the snot-dripping numb-fingered monster within me want to plant some bulbs.

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