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Planting Bulbs

Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 4:36

Hi all,

I'm new to bulb planting, but I've decided to plant tulips, daffodils and muscari at the base of a small Emperor Japanese Maple tree that was just planted this year.

What do I do with this area once all the blooms are spent? I know that I need to leave the foliage alone, but after the foliage dies off, what can I plant that will not disturb the bulbs and keep the daffs and muscari from naturalizing? I don't have a green thumb, and I'm only just beginning to learn about gardening, so any advice would be appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planting Bulbs

Kim, plant whatever you'd like. Spring blooming plants (bleeding hearts, for example) will hide the dying foliage of most bulbs, but won't stop the bulbs from getting bigger, and thus naturalizing.

RE: Planting Bulbs

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 13:47

I'm looking for some specific examples of things I can plant that won't be a hassle to disturb later on if I need to plant more bulbs in the future.

I read something recently in a magazine about a plant hardy to my region that is a good overplanting for bulbs, but now I can't locate it.

The area I'm planting in is full sun. I find that bleeding hearts do better on a north facing wall..I'm looking for more of a groundcover than something with a lot of height.

Any other suggestions are welcome.


RE: Planting Bulbs

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 22, 08 at 3:11

I found one that I think I might like. European or Canadian Ginger, though the light requirements say full to partial shade, and this is really full sun.

Anyone have any experience with Ginger?

RE: Planting Bulbs

"Anyone have any experience with Ginger?"
Nice foliage plant but not for full sun. Ours is perfectly content & spreading on the North side of the house under a tree. It sees no direct sun.
The dying bulb foliage will show above a ground cover. You may want something somewhat taller or plant annuals for a few years until you make up your mind. Whatever you plant, it will need to harmonize with the Maple so give the decision some time & look around a little. You are in Milwaukee. Have you gone for a walk at Boerner in Whitnall Park? Maybe get some ideas there.

RE: Planting Bulbs

The Lamiums are good ground covers, one blooms purple, one yellow, and White Nancy, blooms white. I'm partial to Arabis or Rock Cress which blooms either pink or white. I have a large patch of it under a Ponderosa Pine and it looks like a patch of snow when it's in full bloom. I've also got hostas around my bulbs and by the time the foliage yellows, the hostas are up and filling out.

I've often wondered why we leave the foliage after the bulb blooms because my daughter's next door neighbor lady cuts her tulips and daffodils down to the ground the minute the blooms start to deteriorate and every year they come back fuller and bigger than the year before. It never seems to hurt her bulbs to cut them down without leaving them to make food and energy for the bulb for the next year. What is she doing to keep these bulbs coming back with such a beautiful show? Maybe she has the right idea. Cut the foliage off right away. Maybe by leaving it like the rest of us do, we're actually draining the plant of energy.

RE: Planting Bulbs

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 08 at 4:00

Bob, that's not what I wanted to hear. LOL

The ginger, especially the european version is sooooo pretty.

We did go to Boerner actually, about a week ago. I'd like to say we walked through, but ran is more like it...we were a feast for the mosquito population (and I'm allergic to deet). I'd like to go back again when the mosquitos die down to take a closer inspection.

I was thinking of Lamium - I think that would be a nice contrast, but I was already going to plant that at the base of my Purple Leaf Sandcherry, and I think I remember reading that Lamium does better with some shade. ???

There were a couple other things I was considering as I did more research yesterday...

Forget me nots (the perennials not the annuals) aka Myosotis

Hardy Plumbago (ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

Can anyone tell me about these?

RE: Planting Bulbs

Can't speak for Plumbago, but I do love the perennial/biennial Myosotis Salvatica when all of my garden areas turn blue - good show until about the 4th. of July when they start to set and drop their seeds. Easy to pull spent and browning plant mounds, drop seed for next season's supply and to identify the new plantlets cropping up everywhere when weeding, etc. They don't interfere with bulbs or any other plants.

Feverfew is a good plant to hide ratty bulb foliage too - chrysanthemum like folage with big clusters of small daisy-like flowers. A good selfseeder and easy to eliminate or transplant if they show up where inconvenient. Quite showy and effective with a long blooming period in full sun. Saw feverfew in the herb section of the seed racks - never as plant starts at the local garden centers, though; but I've always had them from some unknown source and get a great crop each year just from deadheading and dropping the spent blooms.

In some spots, my daffodil foliage gets hidden behind some nepetas, Veronicas, and salvias - all of which like full sun.

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