TOW Landscaping with bulbs

Tue, 07 Oct 2003 19:27:52 PDT
It's a pity that landscape designers aren't familiar with bulbs. They're the
perfect plant to include in landscapes that are already crowded when the
landscape crew leaves. I've found Tulip species ( especially chrysantha,
clusiana, and saxatilis) to be reliably perennial. Add 'Ice Follies' to the
list of good Daffodils. I've made the mistake of planting Crocosmias in
irrigated beds; they're too agressive! Also Sinningia tubiflora runs 5 feet
per year and tolerates miserable soil. My greatest successes (from my
Clints' point of view) have beeb massing Sparaxis tricolor hybrids ( I wish
the show were longer) , Hymenocallis littoralis, Alstroemeria hybrids, and
Tulbaghis simmleri. Thes are almost evergreen so people don't notice 'holes'
where the bulbs are.
chuck Schwartz
San Clemente, CA
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Cathy Craig" <>
To: "Forum PBS" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2003 11:02 AM
Subject: [pbs] Re: TOW Landscaping with bulbs

Hello all,

There are a few bulbs that have naturalized quite well here in Southern

N. Thalia has naturalized wherever I have planted it: on the rather wet,
shady north-east side of our yard, also on the hot and dry west side. The
more I garden, the more I come to appreciate white flowers. They never
clash, always stand out without screaming, show up well at dusk and in the
evening dark, always look clean and cheerful. They very gradually increase
without benefit of fertilizer and are left to their own devices. One can
rely on them to bloom well above the foliage - not true of many other
commercial narcissus.

The hybrid darwin tulip T. Ollioules (pink and silver) has naturalized in a
north bed of very slightly amended clay. They were planted deeply, over a
foot, are never fertilized, the bed even though irregated remains pretty dry
throughout the year. I planted about a dozen some 4 or 5 years ago and have
perhaps 14-16 now that bloom each spring. No indication of the bulbs
splitting as yet.

Nerine bowdenii (no special selection) has naturallized next to a perennial
hollyhock on the shady north-east side (near the N. Thalia). Never disturbed
nor fertilized, the clump is a faithful bloomer and seems quite happy even
though it gets quite a lot of regular water from the irregation system
throughout the year.

The common Dutch Hyacinth all seem to naturalize and bloom at top size for
many years. They apparently need no chill (they sure aren't getting any
here). I plant these about a foot deep and remove the foliage when slightly
dessicated (pulls out of the bulb top easily). They also tolerate having
their green leaves cut back a bit when I can't stand the mess, and come back
just fine the following year. They will eventually split but this seems to
take 4 or 5 years before they need replacing. The ones that come back most
reliably (per # bulbs planted) is the purple H. Peter Stuyvesant in the
relatively dry west parts of the property. Part of Peter's success may be
due to the fact I plant more of him than of anything else. The hyacinths
will produce full-sized heads for several years before the bulbs split - and
so do not seem to 'gradually diminish in flower size'.

Leucojum aestivum has naturallized in a dry bed on the north west that sits
atop a slope. It increases well each year. One of my favorite things about
the L's is that they all bloom at varying times and so the overall display
lasts over two or three months. Since the flowers are relatively small, they
would be better closer to the house or to an oft-used walk or pathway.

That's my five successes. My most lamented failure to date remains the @*#!
F. imperialis. I have planted these devils everywhere, in all conditions, at
8 inches to 16 inches deep, in clay soil and in a special planting mixtures
(in the holes), have pre-chilled them, not pre-chilled them, and have yet to
see one green leaf! ...much less any flowers. This year I have a couple in
pots. I roped Mom (Phyllis Flower of the green thumbs) into putting a couple
in pots too. Test results this spring.

Cathy Craig Pres PBS
Maritime zone 9b
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