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New gardener -flowering bulbs questions..

Xyz123Xyz123 Posts: 53
Hi New gardener here. I am looking to do up some sections of our North facing drive. After my earlier regarding re plant (I got acer palmatum, Hebe and another one which I can't remember name off). e, I am now looking to add some colour in between these. 1. Do these bulbs only survive one season? Do I need to remove them at end of summer or they automatically die down? 2. Any summer/autumn n flowering bulbs which behave like tulips in that they grow automatically and which can be left outside over winter.... Ta.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    Spring flowering bulbs will return each year Xyz. Do you just have a few specimen shrubs or do you have a fully planted border? Bulbs work best planted in and around other shrubs and perennials in a mixed border or bed.

    Tulips are the least successful because they need sharp drainage and tend to fade after a couple of years. They won't be so happy in a north facing situation either unless you have enough sun getting to them in spring and summer. Snowdrops and daffs/narcissus will be fine for that aspect and also things like anemone blanda. Crocus will also be fine but they don't open so much in less sun. I don't mind that - I have plenty in a north facing border.  

    For summer and autumn it's a bit trickier and I can't think of anything other than Colchicum, but they wouldn't look right for that situation -  I feel they need some other low level planting round them. You could try lilies, but again, they look best with other perennials or lower growing shrubs to complement them. 

    You could simply plant some lower growing evergreens which will need very little attention. Pachysandra is excellent in shady areas. You'll get lots of suggestions for that type of planting and you can add bulbs into that too  image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    Adding to what Fairgirl has suggested why don't you try some asiatic and oriental lilies There are some beautiful lilie colours and sizes and they will bounce back each year. They do require well drained soil and good sun. My garden is south facing and they do flourish for me come May and June
  • Xyz123Xyz123 Posts: 53
    Thanks. I am slowly feeling the area. Its is two separate areas shape of a quarter circle and about 2-3 m wide. In one of these I have a fairly mature spotted laura and have just got about 4 off euonymus jap paloma. This part is away from house so gets quite but of sun. So maybe for that part I can plant some sun loving bulbs. Any suggestions for this part with alkaline soil?

    For the more tricker other part, I have one acer, and two hebes. I am going to slowly build it up so eventually it is mixture of shrubs and flowers. Ta.
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,081

    I wouldn't bother to put lilies in the north facing border, they like sunshine and well drained soil, neigh of which you will have there.

    without the sun, the border will always be damp, lilies don't like that.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Xyz123Xyz123 Posts: 53
    I meant to ask for suggestions with respect to ones that keep coming back every year if possible.
  • Xyz123Xyz123 Posts: 53
    Sorry my mobile keeps playing up. To summarise, I have two sections both North facing but one is away from house so gets quite a but of sun in spring and summer. So would appreciate some suggestions for this. I know I can find it in some gardening book but being a new gardener it'd a bit overwhelming the amount of choice and I want to start with some easy ones... Ta
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,081

    Although not bulbs, Hellebores like the damp shade and will just get bigger every year, very trouble free usually as well.,  a few daffs popping up between look nice.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Xyz123Xyz123 Posts: 53
    Is this a good time to plant Hellebore. I understand they have almost finished flowering for this year so not sure...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,980

    They'll be fine planted just now - the foliage will look attractive over the summer - dig some organic matter into the soil and give them a mulch with the same after planting.  They'll be very happy.  image

    You could also consider some Lamium - silver leaves with pink or purplish flowers in the summer - they're quite happy in semi-shade and they look after themselves and come back year after year, spreading to form a carpet of silver and green leaves. 

    In the autumn you could plant some Chionodoxa or Puschkinia bulbs.  Both of these have pretty blue flowers in the early spring and will come back year after year.  They'll be happy growing among the hellebores and lamiums and don't need any looking after image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,126

    I have tete a tete daffodils, violets, muscari, scilla, crocus, snowdrops, polyanthus, dog toothed violets and hellebores that do well if you're looking for suggestions.

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