Bulbs. Lots of bulbs. Also, removing small trees.(7 Posts)
Novice gardener here, seeking advice please.
I'm completely re-designing our garden. Many of the plants that I adore are from bulbs. I'm aware that different bulbs, so would it be OK to have a large proportion of the garden plants as bulbs? I just love the amazing variety of bulbs that you can buy, and I like the idea of different things popping up at different times of year.
But before I can start planting, I need to get rid of the boring shrubs and large bushes that fill the garden at the moment. I'm finding it quite hard to dig out their massive root systems, and I can't afford to pay anyone else to do it. Is there a clever solution to the problem? Or is there a special tool that I can hire?
Thank you muchly for any advice. I'm keen but clueless.
Sorry, that should have said that I'm aware that different bulbs flower at all different times of year.
Digging out shrubs/small trees is knackering but doable. Cut it back as much as you can - a pruning saw is good for this. Then dig a trench around it. Use the pruning saw to cut through any roots you find. At this point, I normally stand on the stump, using a garden fork for balance, and use my bodyweight to wang it side to side and back and forth. Check the trench for more roots to cut. Eventually, it's loose enough to lift the bulk of it out. You don't need to dig out every root.
Just check with bulbs when they flower. Most are early spring and some are autumn, but there are big stretches of flower-free year, and lots of droopy foliage to die back. Worth making a list of your favourites and when they flower, then you can have a stab at some year-round interest.
I'd be wary of getting rid of too many shrubs: they give you structure and low-maintenance interest year round, whereas a herbaceous border style garden will take up all of your time. A mix is good.
Phalarope, thank you. That's enormously helpful. Right: sounds as though I need to woman-up and have another go at those bushes.
Do your know what the boring shrubs and bushes are ? Have you lived there for 12 months and seen that they are still boring in the summer ? Or do they just look boring now ?
I ask for the same reasons as Phalarope posted. It's hard work to remove them and you need some anyway . Lots can be cut back hard or pruned to make more space .
You need to know what they are really . Do you have photos ? I'm wondering what might have " massive root systems " .
Bullbs are beautiful , but you need to leave the foliage on for at least 6 weeks while it dies back. If your garden has only bulbs you will have months of the year with nothing but bare soil and dying leaves .
You will also need to be able to create the different types of conditions that different bulbs like .
So If you are having a bulbs only garden you SERIOUSLY need a plan , and get it checked by a more experienced gardener. Otherwise you will spend a fortune on bulbs , break your back planting them and still be unhappy with the results .
I have heavy soil and a wet cold garden , so I have muscari, snowdrops and crocus in the early spring , then camassias and daffodils in flower from March to June . They are either in grass, in pots ( can be sunk in the border then removed ) or in the border with the foliage covered by perennials .
Tulips and lilies are in pots because they don't like my soil and they get dumped behind the shed ( and fed of course ) after flowering for the foliage to die down .
I would definitely not have just bulbs in the garden for several reasons:
1. They look lovely in flower, but the flowering period tends to be relatively short. The rest of the time there will be straggly leaves. When they are in the dying back phase, it will look a complete mess with nothing to distract the eye. Over winter, there will be nothing but bare earth, which will look depressing and be a haven for weeds.
2. They are mostly really quite small and your garden will look and feel too 'low' in its planting
3. Weeding in a garden that is nothing but bulbs is a nightmare. (I speak from bitter experience of an all-too-empty allium bed)
4. Bulbs tend to look best against other plants that provide a kind of green backdrop for them.
However, this absolutely does not mean that you can't plant loads and loads of them around other things - you can pack in literally thousands and thousands of them around other things. A balance of shrubs (some evergreen), small trees, hardy perennials, bulbs and annuals tends to look the best.
My front garden two years ago was dead diseased fuschias and massively overgrown grasses it's now mainly bulbs they start coming up with snowdrops, crocus, daffs, tulips, Persian buttercups, freesias, peacock orchids I could go on I love bulbs. Primroses and their fancy brethren I can't remember the name of flower for ages and give a green coverage just keep dead heading. I have several of the tall ones as well and alliums are amazing for height, love lies bleeding works well and just keeps coming back I have put a couple of small tea roses in there that didn't work in the back my front garden was a riot of colour last year. I bought loads of mixed packets in Tesco and Morrison's. I love bulbs and you can just dig them up split them and replant I always forget what I've planted so it's always a surprise too.
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