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Landscaping with Bulbs: Naturalizing

For a carefree, colorful display year after year, let your bulbs go wild! Flowering bulbs will keep your garden ablaze with color when other plants are just emerging or have faded. Naturalizing is the process of imitating nature with bulb plantings. Bulbs don't grow in rows - the flowers appear in irregular clumps scattered over the landscape. There are several early spring bulbs that naturalize easily in grassy areas.

Getting Started

Consider where your landscape needs more color at various times in spring and early summer. If you plant combination of different species and cultivars, you can enjoy a succession of bloom that lasts from spring to fall. Also consider the garden setting and the effect you'd like to achieve.

In a woodland garden, incorporate bold, sweeping drifts of early spring color. The moist soils and shaded conditions are ideal for naturalizing iris and daffodils. These plants colonize vigorously and thrive under deciduous trees.

Daffodils In lawns and the front of mixed borders, plant low-growing bulbs. You also can tuck these bulbs into ground cover beds, such as ivy and pachysandra, for color and contrast.

Daffodils are a good naturalizer. However, since the foliage does not mature until the end of June, many gardeners mistakenly mow off the foliage before its time. Therefore, consider naturalizing daffodils in an out-of-the-way location without the need for mowing.

For rock gardens, entryway locations and other areas where close-up detail is desired, choose small crocuses and muscari with diminutive blooms. Plant them in small clusters at the corners of beds, in crevices between rocks, or between later blooming garden plants.

Caring for Naturalized Bulbs

One of the great things about naturalized bulbs is that they require very little care. Simply let the foliage die back naturally to ensure that the plants have ample time to send nutrients from the leaves to the bulbs, so they can produce flowers for the following year. crocus


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