An English Bulb Meadow

Jane McGary
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:54:23 PDT
I have been a fan of planting bulbs in turf for a long time and wrote a 
general article about it for a past issue of the Bulb Garden newsletter. 
I have a section of my front lawn devoted to this kind of thing and keep 
adding to the Narcissus, Crocus, and miscellaneous bulbs I planted 
before laying the sod 4 years ago. The miscellaneous, as I've written 
before, were leftovers from my bulb frame that I literally threw on the 
tilled soil and covered with sod, and as Diana says, some real surprises 

On a recent trip to Azerbaijan and eastern Anatolia  I enjoyed seeing 
natural bulb meadows in full flower just after snowmelt. This inspired 
me to add a lot of Puschkinia to the mix -- a genus that does well here 
in Oregon and is available commercially for little cost. I wish I had 
more Gagea, too, but seed is rarely available of this little tulip 
relative. Perhaps the most desirable geophyte I saw in this situation 
was Adonis wolgensis, and I'll make every effort to obtain seed, which 
must be fresh to germinate well.

The only restrictions to this kind of cultivation are that you should 
decide when (or if) you need to mow the area and limit your selections 
to species that will be dormant, or at least have their foliage very 
low, at that time; and of course species that will do well under 
whatever moisture regime your turf gets. You also have to tolerate a lot 
of weeds, as Robin Hansen remarked in her recent Bulb Garden article. I 
do spot-spray dandelions and hawkweed after the bulbs are dormant and 
the grass is mown, but there are times, especially in June, when the 
scene is not pretty.

Jane McGary
Portland, oregon, USA

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