When thinking of spring flowers it’s often bulbs that come to mind and most of us tend to plant them in borders in any space that’s available. This can work very well and planting them like this adds colour and interest to otherwise brown and green borders early in the year. But there is another way to make them work for you, and that’s to naturalise them in grass.
“Naturalising” in grass just means you plant the bulbs and allow them to die down each year and spread themselves about naturally, which they will often do by means of seeding about. This works on a number of different scales – larger flowers in larger areas – like the “host of golden daffodils” made famous by Wordsworth – and smaller blooms in a more modestly sized space. “Ten thousand saw I at a glance” said the poet – but I suspect most of us would have to be content with knocking a zero or two off that number!
In a smaller garden, snowdrops work very well in grass, as do crocuses, scilla and anemone blanda. Anemone nemorosa, the wood anemone is very pretty too in white drifts around the base of a tree. In fact if you have a deciduous tree in your lawn, around the base is usually a good place for naturalising bulbs, as they can produce their leaves and flowers while the tree’s branches are still bare, allowing in the necessary light. Don’t plant too close to the trunk – allow a little space – and scatter the bulbs loosely on the grass, planting them where they fall, so that it looks as if they’ve appeared there naturally.
Whatever you do, don’t cut the grass in the planted area until six to eight weeks after the bulbs have flowered, to allow them to build up strength and flower and multiply each year. The perfect excuse to leave mowing till a few weeks later – don’t say I never give you anything!!!
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