Naturalising Bulbs


When preparing a lawn or woodland area for naturalising choose bulbs that bulk-up and naturalise freely.

Bulbs for these situations include crocus, chianodoxa, cyclamen, scillas, snowdrops and species narcissus.

Planting plan:

Although the concept is to get a natural look one should plan to use a few varieties of the same genus that flower at different times, or plant individual drifts of a different genus, rather than just mixing different genus together in one drift.

For example;

For contrast one could have a drift of mixed crocus, or several drifts of one colour in each.

Or, drifts of three varieties of daffodils that flower at distinct times, with very little overlap.

Similarly, planting individual drifts of genus that flower at different times of the year e.g.

Bluebells, crocus, chianodoxa, cyclamen, narcissus,and snowdrops.

Naturalised Cyclamen
Naturalised Narcissus/Daffodils

Circa Week 37:

Bulbs should be scattered at random over the area and planted where they fall.

To achieve a natural wild garden effect, scatter the dry bulbs randomly on to short grass (if the grass is too long, you may lose sight of the bulbs)

Form a hole at least 150mm (6") deep with a bulb planter* where each bulb landed and plant a single bulb in each hole.

Use the soil from each successive planting to fill the previous hole and fill the last hole with soil from another part of the garden.

* If a large quantity is to be planted it is advisable to purchase a robust bulb planter that can be driven in with the ball of the foot.

Bulb Planter

To plant under turf, use a half-moon cutter or sharp spade to mark out a section of turf, undercut the turf and roll it back, break up the soil on the exposed area and apply a general fertiliser.

Space bulbs according to size and take out a planting hole so that bulbs will be positioned with their tops about twice their own depth down.

Planting the bulbs in groups of three rather than singly will produce clumps of flowers from the outset, rather than having the wait for them to clump up naturally.

Cover with soil, replace turf then lightly tamp back down to original level.

Remember that where bulbs have been planted in grassed areas the grass should not be mown for at least six weeks after flowering to allow the foliage to wither and die off naturally.

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