An English Bulb Meadow

Diana Chapman
Fri, 07 Aug 2015 06:46:39 PDT
I think there are two different approaches to planting bulbs in turf.  
If you call it a lawn, the expectation is that it will look neat and 
trimmed and set off the rest of the garden, the plantings of flower 
borders or shrubs and trees, and the rough appearance while the bulb 
foliage dies back can be annoying, especially since most lawn plantings 
are of one species with nothing to follow on.   If you approach it 
differently, as John Davies has, and plant an area with bulbs that will 
flower for several months in succession, and the planting is the main 
event in your garden, then surely waiting a month or two to mow it isn't 
a problem.  My pastures are mown once a year in summer to refresh them, 
control weeds and stimulate new growth.  I don't think they look bad 
before they are mown, they look like a meadow with waving grasses.

I think John Davies' garden is truly inspirational.  I have a very large 
garden, and I intend keeping the area near the house as trimmed lawn, 
but I also have an outer garden that was created from a pasture and I 
have never done anything to improve the grass area which is composed 
mostly of coarse weeds and grasses, so I am inspired to plant at least 
some of it with bulbs and see how it goes.  I have gophers, and also the 
property floods in winter, so it will be an experiment to see what can 
survive these conditions.  Right now my outer garden looks very bad, 
bare patches, thistle, dandelions, etc.  I don't water it and don't 
intend to, it is too large.

Telos Rare Bulbs
> Jane McGary mentioned the less than pleasant appearance of bulbs in turf around June. This is accurate, maybe accentuated, where I live in southwestern Oregon which gets about three months of dry heat (in the 100's F recently.) The "lawn" goes completely brown (except for weeds: rough cats paw, prickly lettuce) because we have no sprinklers. It's too dry for dandelion this time of year.
> Where there is irrigation, Prunella vulgaris works very well. In decent soil, it flowers Spring to Autumn, and prevents growth of weeds due to its spreading habit. I was happy to see it mentioned in Robins' article about the untended lawn. Grown in good soil it spreads well and divides easily, also good from cuttings. The best weed control is other plants.
> Another one, if you have the space, is crimson clover (not confused with red clover). It is a self seeding annual used as a cover crop and livestock fodder. Pretty red flowers. It spreads out a bit by seed, so not good for a small garden/lawn. Grows to roughly one foot. It cohabitates well with poppies (CA and true, good clover companions), if irrigated flowers nearly all season.
> Travis Owen
> Rogue River, OR
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