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Planting bulbs

Courtney-PCourtney-P Posts: 15
Hello, new gardener here :) I want to plant bulbs in my (north east) facing front garden for next year - ideally daffodils, tulips, gladioli, alliums and snowdrops, so that they come up at different times but on similar places. I’ve never planted bulbs before so not sure how to do this correctly, do I stack them on top of each other? Also any recommendations on when to plant would be appreciated! Thank you :)


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    If you can still get any snowdrops 'in the green' then you can plant those now.  Most of the rest you plant in autumn, apart from tulips which you plant in Nov/Dec.  In my opinion, all bulbs look best planted in small groups and not intermixed.  Remember to label where you plant each group so that you don't forget when 'tulip planting time' comes and start digging-up the bulbs you planted a few weeks earlier (we've all done it!)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,254
    Before buying, research the conditions they all prefer too - most tulips and alliums don't like the moisture levels that snowdrops and daffs like, and they need a lot more sun than a north east aspect will probably give them, so you'd have to be careful where you site those. 
    Many gladioli aren't hardy everywhere so you'd need to keep them under cover over winter to plant out later if you're in a wetter/colder part of the country.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    Little notes from personal experience (zone 8):

    Daffodils planted in norther corners start to bloom only at the end of their expected season, blooms will be big, but there will be less of them. And depending on how deep they were in the ground they may not show up next year.

    As it was pointer out earlier, big part of bulbs listed by you need a lot of sun and drainage to thrive and not rot over winter.

    So far I had a very rotten luck with my attempts of "lasagna" in the ground vs the ones in a pot. Soil in pots heats up differently compared to flat bed so the timing is not the same as it would be in a pot.
    Then there's a question of bulbs multiplying if it DOES succeed... The upper layers of lasagna will get more thick and create a barrier for anything underneath and then you have tulips (for example) uprooting and pushing out crocus or getting crooked and tangled up and eventually popping form the ground blanched and weak (if they do at all). In a pot version you would just tip it over and re-arrange each year.

    If you really want lasagna you could get few big-ish pots and place them strategically in your garden as lifted focal points.

    But I ultimately agree with @BobTheGardener that bulbs look the best in lines or clusters. They need to work against each other to produce the effect of patch of color, otherwise they look too thin and barely surviving (even if everything comes up just fine). Barren patches between solitary stems will do them no favor and I assume you wanted to put bulbs as a carpet of bloom to see through season.

    If you decide to make them in patches after all, may I suggest putting few hellebores or ferns between them? Or alternatively you can put hardy cyclamen as a ground cover. This way you will get some bloom before and after bulbs bloom season and evergreen foliage.
    I think snowdrops and daffodils have best chances to survive in your garden! 

    (daffs with added ferns and hellebores)

    (daffs and cyclamen) 

  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    Hosta may be a good companion for bulb clusters, too. Especially in shady north oriented garden.  Providing lots of green they will cover the ground, but won't steal the show from blooms . 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,356
    @Lena =vs=Deer  My daffs here in NW England come out ages before Hostas show their faces. In fact my Hostas still aren't as far on as yours in the photo!
    Hellebores are good though. I have some with snowdrops and they look lovely together. The same bit of garden also has Astrantias, hardy geranium and Alliums and these kick in  as the others fade.
    If they are happy, snowdrops multiply surprisingly fast. I had some singles, got some doubles from my Ma-in-law and later bought a larger, taller variety that stands above the rest. Over the years they have all increased, I have lifted and split the clumps and now there are several places under my trees that are a carpet of snowdrops every spring. :)
     Same with daffs. Previous owners had planted some in the grass, big blowsy King Alfred type. I added more, in gentler yellows and white with some later flowering ones too and leave the grass to grow long as a meadow, with added meadow perennials. The grass hides the untidy foliage as it dies back. It only really shows when it is fully brown and by then it is easy to remove. The clumps get bigger and spread further every year without me doing a thing!
  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    I love snowdrops <3 I wish they were easier to get where I live now heh. After we moved and with lockdown they were impossible to find … growers seem to just decided that they’re not worth it this year or something:( we have found some dried ones later though! Fingers crossed they come up next year! 

    Last year I’ve seen my hostas for a very short time haha… enough to enjoy they as they filled up and then deer had a great salad buffet hahahahah ….

    So it’s all hellebores and fern now.

    Usually we grow British Gamble, my husband loves big trumpets . I dotted a bunch of doubles between them this year and thought it would be fun, but they came up super late and rather look like lonely strugglers :D  just an odd one or two a foot apart here and there … they all have come up, but I guess I should have read when they come up on a label with more attention and not just assume they will match the timing )) and maybe plant them as a separate cluster 

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