It’s almost time to plant bulbs for the spring, which means figuring out a design plan for where all your flowers will grow. Neat rows and clusters are most popularly envisioned. But have you ever thought about naturalizing them? To naturalize bulbs, means to plant them in such a way that they appear to have grown without any human intervention. (Which means
neat rows and clusters- you’re out!) You can accomplish naturalizing in already established beds and borders, barren sections of the yard, and if done correctly even in the lawn. The overall goal is to keep the illusion that it was unplanned. If growing bulbs in the lawn sounds like fun, there is important information to be aware of. Only select bulbs that bloom early, their foliage must not be just down until it withers and browns on it’s own. This is because leaves serve a great purpose, working hard to synthesize or produce food for energy in the following year. Cutting back too early will starve your plants. (Since you don’t want to be that neighbor on the block with foot-tall grass waiting foryour plants to die back, it is best to avoid growing plants that will grow into lawn season.) The best plants to naturalize, are the ones that will multiply and gradually spread out over the years. Some great options include snowdrops, white squill, crocus, grape hyacinth, glory of the snow, blue squill and early daffodils. The most fun way to “plan” your unplanned garden if to toss bulbs in the air and plant them where they land. If a little re-adjustment is needed, thats okay. The goal is to create drifts instead of rows or clusters. If you want a bit more control of the operation, you can outline an area with a garden hose or rope and toss your bulbs in that general area. If mixing bulbs sounds like fun, throw the larger bulbs first, and work down in size until they all are on the ground. To ensure some extra informality, place a few bulbs outside of the boundary for good measure. When all the bulbs are in place, dig them in the ground. You should add a teaspoon of fertilizer to each planting hole, along with a small handful of crushed oyster shell. This discourages squirrels and other critters from digging up the bulbs. They find the texture of shells to be irritating and unpleasant when digging, and as a bonus the shells will release nutrients into the ground that will help nourish the bulbs! Happy planting!
Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.