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Spring Bulbs for gravel gardens

Please can you advise what spring bulbs can be grown in a gravel garden.


  • Depends whats under the gravel and where the area is sun/shade/wet /other plants nearby . Picture might help too.😀
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Practically anything but not sure the majority would 'look right'. Personal opinion only!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,149
    Assuming the soil and aspect are right, keep to small, dainty, multi-headed narcissus, dainty chinodoxia, and species tulips with short stems.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,865

    Iris reticulata might look good against gravel.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,134
    Is it to grow among existing planting, Marie? 
    As the others have said - it will depend on the soil and aspect etc, but it also depends on the look you're trying to achieve.
    Small types would generally look better if there's nothing else there, and taller plants will look good growing through and around perennials and small shrubs etc, with smaller bulbs like crocus, snowdrops, species tulips in front of them, in the same way you would plant a border in 'tiers'. 
    A big, densely planted area will also have more impact than lots of little clumps here and there.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you all.

    For those who have asked, the border receives morning to noon sun then is in partial shade. It is well drained gritty soil under the gravel - no membrane. The border is a small triangular area 400cm each side with a 250cm round wildlife pond in the centre - frogs in residence!

    There are a few low growing perennials and euonymus. I like the idea of small/short plants - you have given me good ideas of iris and narcissus. Just want to add some colour in early spring before my summer borders burst into flower.

    I like the idea of small dainty multi-headed narcissus "dainty chinodoxia", I will check my local garden centres for stock.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,134
    I think most bulbs would be happy in the aspect and soil you have.
    Take a look online for  bulb specialist stockists too Marie. A favourite here is Peter Nyssen. 
    Be warned though - it's very hard to resist temptation.... ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks Fairygirl, I will certainly give  Peter Nyssen a looksee.
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