An English Bulb Meadow

Jane McGary
Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:51:37 PDT
Diana wrote,I have gophers, and also the property floods in winter, so 
it will be an experiment to see what can survive these conditions.

I didn't have many gophers at my country place (the Malamutes kept them 
in check) but there were many voles. Of palatable bulbs, only those 
growing in turf survived the voles. The area around my bulb frames there 
was pasture grass, mown once a year like Diana's "outer garden," and 
also it flooded during heavy rain in winter from groundwater bubbling 
up. A number of bulbs got into this area, apparently from 
ant-distributed seeds, and they did well despite the coarse grasses.

My present bulb lawn is downhill from a "bioswale" or "rain garden" 
installed to capture runoff from the large greenhouse (there is a tank, 
too, but it overflows in winter), so it is getting plenty of moisture in 
winter, and also I ignore the commands of the bioswale and water the 
area once a week to keep some growth and flowers during summer. This 
summer especially, all the sunny lawn area here is brown; lawns in the 
Pacific Northwest contain a mixture of winter-growing and summer-growing 
grasses, and after a few years the winter varieties outcompete the 
others unless the lawn is professionally maintained or very shaded. 
Fortunately, I live in an economically mixed sort of neighborhood where 
lush lawns are not socially mandated! (If you want "our" kind of garden, 
avoid gated communities.)

Anyway, I don't think there are many bulbs that can't tolerate 
occasional watering when dormant in turf, especially if large trees 
nearby suck up the moisture. Bulbs in pots are much more sensitive -- 
but even they should not become desiccated.

jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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