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Mixing Primulas with spring flowering bulbs + Bulbs and lawns:

ElothirElothir Posts: 94
edited August 2019 in Plants

Just a quick question regarding some spring flowering plants.

I'm hoping to get some primulas (Primrose & Cowslips) growing in a shady bed we have under an Elder. 

However there  is also a suggestion to put some spring bulbs in (mainly Daffodils and Crocus).

I'm not sure theres too much space there for so much, but I wanted to ask, bearin in mind that both Crocus and Daffodil (for which I personally would lean towards the 'wild' ones) are supposed to multiply readily and spread, how would any potential primroses cope with that?

So in short: Primroses and Daffodils sharing the same flower bed, good idea or very bad? 

We also have an Ice Plant in the same bed but obviously that doesn't kick in until much later.

The second question is to do with lawns. We're intending to dig over and re-sow our 'lawn', which just so happens to border the  bed  in question. As most Daffodils (especially the 'wild' Lent Lily type) and Crocus self-seed/multiply/naturalise they would possibly spread into the lawn. 

I know naturalising bulbs in grass is suggested in some places,  but I'm just wondering how that would work, would it affect the grass too much (e.g will we just end up with a lot of 'bald spots' in the grass etc). 


  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    We have quite a large area of grass and primroses self seed and spread about in parts. We don't do anything to deter or encourage them, they just do their own thing. They grow singly and do not crowd anything or affect the grass. Daffodils also grow in some parts. They do not seed, as far as I am aware, but they form clumps. There are two drawbacks: you cannot cut the grass until the leaves die back and when they do you will have visible yellowed patches of grass with little gaps where the daffs were.

    This means that if you want a lawn it will look scrappy for months, but if you lean towards the wildflower meadow the fading bulbs will be concealed. The larger the area, the less it matters - you can have 'wild' and cultivated areas, but it a small lawn it might present problems.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Hi @Elothir. Primroses are fine among spring bulbs - I have loads among mine. If they spread around [which they will if they're happy] they're easy to lift and move elsewhere.

    When it comes to having them in grass/lawns, bear in mind that by the time daffs are finished and the foliage has died back, it can be quite late in spring, depending on where you live, and it means you have to leave the grass round them for longer before cutting. It can be fine if it's a strip along an edge or similar, but can look messy if it's random patches throughout the lawn. Crocus ar efine as they're much earlier.
     It also depends on how much it bothers you  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • My late Mother once planted crocuses in the lawn. She was quite artistic, and a good gardener and planted the bulbs with the aim of them 'saying' "Hello Spring" when they flowered. Unfortunately mice ate the 'O' bulbs, so come the flowering season we had .....Hell Spring. Just a little funny to make you smile.
    Good luck with your plans.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    We had an enormous garden with large orchard.  There were thousands of snowdrops, primroses, cowslips, violets and other 'nice' wildflowers because they spread like wildfire. We planted a wavy row of daffodils (several  hundred over time) so that we had a demarcation line up to which we could mow. When the daffodil leaves had gone, in July, the rest of the orchard could be mown as everything had seeded and died back. It was never a lawn as it was never cut too low, but it was flat, green and fairly tidy. Think carefully before planting bulbs etc in what you want to have as a lawn. Cutting it before your plants have disappeared will be counterproductive. Even crocuses will be deterred by mowing them too soon. It all depends on what you are prepared to live with and how much space you can devote to your wildflower area.
  • ElothirElothir Posts: 94
    edited August 2019
    Well I wasn't actually intending to plant the bulbs in the lawn, just more thinking in terms of if a few happened to creep into it due to proximity whether that would be good or bad. I just brought up the deliberately planting aspect as I know that is something people do, and wasn't sure how that interaction worked out for the grass.

    Personally I wouldn't mind having flowers in the grass, make it a bit more interesting, so if a few primroses or crocus slip in I'm not going to be terribly bothered about it, but others are very much of the 'a lawn is 100% grass and nothing else' mindset hehe.

    Thanks for all the replies.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    Don't worry about them spreading into the lawn.  Mowing will prevent this happening as bulbs will quickly diminish into nothing if their leaves are chopped off regularly.  Regular mowing is often recommended as the easiest way to control weeds and other unwanted plants in a lawn. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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