Spring Bulbs and Wildflower Lawn

Hi All
I have recently moved into a new build house and have a small garden.  I was wondering if it is possible to plant spring bulbs for naturalising in the same space as wildflowers or would that not really be compatible?  Like most new builds I dont think the 'soil' in the lawn is up to much and I would love to do something to bring insects and birds into the space.  
Nicci

Posts

  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,179
    Hi  and welcome.
    Do you know what your underlying soil in your area is or should be?
    That will help people make suggestions.
    Have you had time to dig around and see how much rubbish the builders have left behind?

    Some plants will thrive on poor soil, but the best things to grow will be what is suitable to your conditions.
    Hence my questions rather than answers :)

    Also have a little look at madpenguins garden there is a thread from last season too.
    https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/1024311/mini-meadow-lawn-progress-2019#latest


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,571
    It also depends what you mean by 'wildflowers'! The 'wildflower' mixes sold by seed merchants are often cornfield flowers that grow in disturbed soil, not turf.

    When we moved in here, there was a large area of grass that had been planted with hundreds of daffodils, all bright yellow. I added some swathes of white ones to tone things down a bit and over the years have added meadow cranesbill, betony, crocuses and agrimony.
    Other things have moved in on their own - cowparsley, buttercups, woundwort, knapweed. I am still looking to add more things but already have colour from early spring till September, when I cut it all down and rake it clear ready for a green lawn through winter.
    My main meadow area gets pretty much full sun, but there is a shady damp area a bit further up the hill that I planted with camassias, bistort and Martagon lilies; though only one of the last remains, it comes up faithfully each spring and looks amazing :)

    You could do something similar albeit, on a smaller scale in your lawn, with  snowdrops, dwarf daffodils, crocuses, even tulips such as T. sylvestris or T. sprengeri. Most hardy geraniums are fairly tough and would cope with a bit of competition from grass, or you could grow appropriate wildflowers from seed to add in, as I did, matching them to the conditions you have. One good one to add is yellow hay rattle, Rhinanthus, as it is semi parasitic on grass and slows down the rate of growth, giving the flowers more chance. I keep meaning to add it to mine, but it needs planting in the autumn to get frosted over winter and I am always too busy and miss the boat :/
    You will have to be prepared for it to look rather unkempt at some times, and fit in a time or times to cut things back a bit, but it is meant to be wild!
    Have some fun with it :)
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    One trick with a small garden is to plant bulbs in layers - big bulbs (e.g. daffs) down "deep", medium sized bulbs above those and small bulbs (e.g. snowdrops) at the top. This gets you more display per square yard and helps prolong the flowering season.
  • One trick with a small garden is to plant bulbs in layers - big bulbs (e.g. daffs) down "deep", medium sized bulbs above those and small bulbs (e.g. snowdrops) at the top. This gets you more display per square yard and helps prolong the flowering season.
    Thats not a bad idea...I planted snowdrops this year but less than a third of them grew.  Any ideas what might have happened?  Seems like a low success rate.  
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,990
    Dried out probably Nicola. Snowdrops perform best in moist soil that never fully dries out. Also, dry bulbs often don't do as well as plants bought in the green, so it may be down to that too. 
    If you don't yet have suitable conditions for them naturally in your garden, you can create a slightly better site for them by making an area which doesn't drain water too quickly - a bit like a bog garden. Once you have a garden more suited, you can lift and replant where appropriate.  :)
    And somewhere on the hill
    Inside the past we hear the bells
    Catching only parts of thoughts
    And fragments of ourselves
    Till we begin
    Again


  • Fairygirl said:
    Dried out probably Nicola. Snowdrops perform best in moist soil that never fully dries out. Also, dry bulbs often don't do as well as plants bought in the green, so it may be down to that too. 

    Is the same try for Daffs and Tulips FairyGirl?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,990
    Most daffs are fairly happy if the soil's damp - within reason - but most tulips [ the bigger, blowsier types we mainly see] are the opposite. Nice, free draining soil for them and a sunny site. They won't tend to last as long year on year the way daffs/narcissus do though, unless you have really good conditions for them.
    The species tulips are more forgiving, although they still like some sun and decent soil.

    You can safely plant all of them from bulbs bought in autumn. No need to buy in the green   :)


    And somewhere on the hill
    Inside the past we hear the bells
    Catching only parts of thoughts
    And fragments of ourselves
    Till we begin
    Again


  • So my tactic of sticking things in the ground and hoping for the best probably isnt the wisest  :D 
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    So my tactic of sticking things in the ground and hoping for the best probably isnt the wisest  :D 
    Always worked for me :smile:
  • guttiesgutties N. IrelandPosts: 200
    Fairygirl said:

    If you don't yet have suitable conditions for them naturally in your garden, you can create a slightly better site for them by making an area which doesn't drain water too quickly - a bit like a bog garden. Once you have a garden more suited, you can lift and replant where appropriate.  :)
    @Fairygirl, how wet do snowdrops like it.  I have a bog garden, by that I mean when I walk across it now I leave big footprints that are an inch or two deep and the water puddles in those footsteps.  I presumed that would be too wet for snowdrops?
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