Gardening with flower bulbs can be extremely rewarding especially after a long, cold winter. Many bulbs send up some of the first flowers we see blooming in the later winter and early spring. That bright spot in the garden renews the soul and lets us know spring is near! Layered gardening is an effective way to maximize color throughout the spring. You are practically guaranteed success whether you are a first time gardener or a seasoned bulb planter.
First, you will want to identify an area in your garden that receives full sun. Keep in mind many spring blooming bulbs may be done photosynthesizing by the time the deciduous trees have leafed out. Next choose at least 25 bulbs each, of three different varieties of spring flowering bulbs. This amount will fill a 5 square foot area. If you have a larger area increase the number of bulbs. To prolong your blooming time choose one variety of an early blooming muscari (grape hyacinth), spring crocus or iris reticulata, in addition to
one type of daffodil and one type of tulip. You will be digging 25 holes in the garden for your 75 bulbs. Place the tulip at the bottom of the hole (treat your bulb with repellant before planting if you live in an area with voles) and cover with a little bit of soil. Next place the daffodil bulb in the hole and again cover with a little bit of soil. Finally, place the muscari/iris/crocus bulb in the hole and cover. You should see your first blooms from the top bulb, then the daffodil and then the tulip. Overplant the area with pansies or violas for color through out the winter until your bulbs pop up. To extend the bloom time even later, add a few daylilies to the area. As the foliage from the daffodils is dying back, the foliage from the daylily will cover and make for a happier looking garden. This combination can give you color in the
garden from January until May.
Layered gardening not only maximizes the length of bloom time in your spring garden, it also makes your planting
efforts more efficient! Seventy-five bulbs in twenty-five holes are 2/3rds less work than the traditional one hole, one bulb planting style. Now that you have saved yourself so much time, you get to sit back, relax and dream about your beautiful spring blooming garden!