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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2004
 
John Cushnie On...
 

BULBS FOR MEADOWS
7 September 2006


Traditionally we have naturalized daffodils in lawns where they often prove to be more trouble than their display is worth. The foliage is slow to die down and can’t be cut leaving the grass long and untidy until late May. When they need to be divided it is seriously hard work.

In meadow areas and wild flower zones there are no such problems and there is a greater range of other bulbs that will perform well.

Top of my list is the tulip. The long stemmed Darwin types with their late spring flowers held 18-20 inches above ground level. They look superb in long grass and if the bulbs are planted 8-10 inches deep they won’t need to be lifted and replanted each year.


C. quamash flowersCamassia bulbs are expensive but, providing the soil is moist, they will quickly form large clumps. C. quamash flowers in late spring with 12 inch long racemes of bright blue flowers. C. leichtlinii is much taller with racemes of creamy white flowers in late spring and early summer. Plant the bulbs 4 inches deep in autumn in fertile, moist soil and mulch in winter in gardens where there are late frosts.


Allium CernuumOrnamental onions such as Allium Cernuum, the nodding onion, succeed in meadows. It has 8 inch long, strap-like leaves and 15-24 inch high, pendant umbels of bell-shaped, deep pink flowers during summer.

 

 

Fritillaria meleagrisThe Snake’s head fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris is great for short grass meadows where they will multiply by seed. There are wonderful drifts growing wild in and around Oxford. Flowering in spring, the bell-shaped, pendant flowers may be purple or pink-purple with purple lines. Occasionally they may be white. Flowers are carried on 12 inch stems.

Where the soil remains moist during spring and summer and the position is in full sun it will be worth growing Galtonia candicans. Its lance-shaped, grey-green leaves may be as long as 30 inches with 3-4 ft long, leafless stems carrying racemes of fragrant, pendant, tubular white flowers during late summer. The bulbs are quite expensive but in the right situation will bulk up by offsets and seed.

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