Layering Bulbs - Getting the most bloom in a small garden
Many of us think of spring tulips and daffodils when we talk about bulbs but there are different types that bloom for most of the summer. The gardener with limited space can take advantage of the special attributes of bulbs that require little room for root space, take up little space above ground as they mostly grow straight up rather than spread sideways and have foliage that dies back after blooming. Layering is the perfect way to maximize the flowering potential of a small garden. In a hole as little as 18" wide by 12"-14" deep, you can get a wonderful display of bloom from early spring until well into August.
Start by choosing bulbs carefully, the bigger the bulb the larger the blooms is a good rule-of-thumb when purchasing bulbs. There are basically four main "layers" of bulbs that work particularly well for this method of planting:
Any layer can be left out and the scheme still works quite well. Larger areas can also be planted using this method of layering types of bulbs. Within a layer you can vary the bulbs, putting 2-3 Asiatic lilies with a couple of Oriental ones, thus extending the the final blooming time. Early and late blooming tulips also work well this way. It is recommended that you choose one type of early bloomer and one late one, rather than mixing too many variations.
To determine quantities to buy there are a few
points to consider. The more intensely you plant, the more blooms you
will have next spring. As well, though, bulbs like narcissi will form
offsets and will need dividing sooner if planted extremely close
together. In a hole about 18" wide, about 4-5 lilies, 3-5
daffodils or 2-3 alliums (or a combination of the two), 5-7 tulips,
and 20 or so small bulbs would be adequate. Again, size of the bulbs
comes into play here as daffodils that are top size can be very large
indeed and can have so many offsets that you would have a tough time
fitting 5 in a hole this size.
Step 3 In the bottom of the hole, place
about 2-3" of course sand. This will provide good drainage for
Step 4 Next fill in about 2-3" of
the soil mixture.
Step 5 Now you can start to plant.
Lilies go in the deepest. You might fit 4-6 or even more in the hole,
depending on their size and that of the hole. They bloom last, from
late June for the Asiatics, July for the Trumpets to August for the
Orientals (depending on your location and summer conditions). Cover
with about 2" of good soil mix.
Step 7-9 Continue with tulips and soil
and finally the smallest bulbs that are also the earliest blooming,
the Iris reticulata, crocus, etc. Finally cover with the last of the
soil for about 2 more inches above the last bulbs.
All articles are the property of Garden Forever.
reserved. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the
prior written consent of Garden Forever is strictly forbidden.