Bulbs: Low Maintenance Beauty

Posted on: October 26, 2011

Bulbs can be the ultimate low maintenance plant, just pick the right ones and get them out of the garage. (Yes thousands of bulbs selected with great anticipation live and die in the garage.) Please don’t feel bad and give up on bulbs. Everyone has done this. Garden Coach makes the time and sets up the structure to get the right bulbs planted in the right place in your garden. We are placing orders now. Read on for a few quick picks of my favorite bulbs.

Here is my list of easy to find bulbs with graceful demise.

  1. Alliums, lots can and is written about the good ones, (yes there are bad ones, avoid anything that says naturalizes). My top 3: Spring Allium Karativiense ‘Ivory Queen’, Early Summer Allium Cernuum; and Summer. Allium ‘Globemaster’.  Mix ’em up with daisy headed flowers for great contrast.
  2. Species Tulips – my favorite is the Greigii Tulips because their foliage is attractive with purple splotches. They are shorter at about 10 inches tall and so less likely to fall over with heavy rains. My personal Greigii favs are Oratoria or hot colored Toronto. Other more delicate looking types such as T. Clusiana Cynthia spice up the garden (reds) and open and close, showing off bright yellow and intricate interiors.
  3. Camassia – awesome blue flower, a native plant that can handle clay or heavy
    soils and then goes dormant and needs no additional water in the summer. This is my idea of low maintenance. There are many varieties but check out Camassia quamash ‘Orion’ for a seriously blue hit of heaven. Plant them behind a group of Black Eyed Susan (Rudebeckia) or Asters or Sedum ‘Xenox’, cousin to S. ‘Autumn Joy’.
  4. Dwarf Daffodils – go for the shorties and plant these with other “require good
    drainage” kinds of plants like the heathers, or dwarf conifers, or even good old common Candy Tuft. This is a great way to get an easy burst of color – no muss, no fuss and no rubber bands on the dying foliage please. All these plants have the same needs, low water, good drainage and SUN.
  5. Fritilarria – very unusual looking, graceful, everything to gain and nothing to lose but only if you plant them right away. If you leave these in the garage even one day, it’s all over. Plant immediately upon receipt in filtered light. Underneath the edges of a large shrub or small tree would be good.
  6. Lastly, a warning………Scilla is a BAD bluebell bulb that spreads.  There are some trustworthy types of Scilla but too few for the risk………. No Scilla! Getting rid of it is a nightmare, (although I accomplished complete annihilation of it once). The NW has Scilla Hispanica in nearly all areas. It is kinda sweet (cute bluebell flower) but it is a Trojan horse. The seed can easily blow out of your yard to your neighbors yard. It takes both cutting off the flowers before they seed and digging the bulbs up over and over for years to get rid of it.

Read more about it? Click here for The Oregonian blog by Kym Pokorny on Bluebells