layering in bulbs with other plants

Kathleen Sayce
Wed, 20 May 2015 19:05:20 PDT
I’ve followed Ian Young’s bulb log for years, and have tried to devise a mix of ground covering plants to coexist with bulbs several times, based on his enthusiastic experiments in his own garden. 

What I have found is that any of several plants (Oxalis spp., Galium odoratum, Dicentra formosa, et cetera) are perfectly happy to cover the ground, but then slugs, snails and other plant eating invertebrates follow. These ground covering plants also do nothing to deter ivy, blackberry, spruce, or elderberry seedlings, let alone slow down muscular spreaders like creeping buttercup, or sheep sorrel. 

Just today I rescued four Lilium columbianum bulbs from a mat of Oxalis (which has lovely white flowers and nice green foliage) and quack grass, which had sneaked in under the Oxalis cover. Formerly there were 15 bulbs in this area, and some might still return next year. Or not. 

Admittedly, my garden, and the coastal Pacific Northwest in general, is over endowed with non-native slugs and snails. 

My question to the general readership is this:  Has anyone succeeded in North America with layers of green mixed plantings in which bulbs can thrive? Or does this provide too much cover for potential green pests and herbivorous invertebrates?


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