A tip I received from Sally Ferguson alerted me to a pretty cool website, seasonalwalk.com. It chronicles the planting of bulbs and perennials by two top designers known internationally – Piet Oudolf of Hummelo and Jacqueline van der Kloet of Weesp, both in the Netherlands, to create a four-season garden for the New York Botanical Garden.
Started in 2008, the project has been extended to 2010. The website is a wonder for someone like me, out in Colorado with no plans to visit New York city in the near future. Filled with photos plus the story of the garden from November 2008 to the present, the site also provides plant lists and suggested combinations for we design-challenged folks.
Landscape designers might appreciate the step-by-step installation guide should they choose to mimic this planting. Of course, designers worth their fees will discard any plant suggestion that won’t do well in our semi-arid climate, but others, like the coneflowers, will do very well here.
The biggest help this site offers at this time of year is the wealth of information and photos of bulbs, because as we head into the month, people are shopping for spring glory. As you scroll through the luscious photos by Rob Cardillo (an incredible photographer) you might want to keep a pen and paper handy to jot down the bulbs you see that you’d like to add into your landscape. Read the caption of the photo for plant identification – this site is wonderful at telling you what you’re seeing.
Keep in mind that it’s not yet time to pop bulbs in the ground, but if you have your heart set on some unusual varieties, shop early and cool-store them until late in September (refrigerators are a no-no; they’re too cold).
Other suggestions to keep in mind:
- With bulbs, size matters. Choose large, well formed bulbs that are blemish free.
- Plant bulbs when soil temperatures are cool – 55 to 58 degrees.
- Dig holes four times the height of the bulb, and place bulbs tips up.
- There’s no need to fertilize at planting, instead, fertilize in spring when shoots first show.
- Add four inches of mulch to buffer soil temperatures.
Have fun planting, and ignore the neighbors. As you’ll see from the Seasonal Walk planting photos, even the best designers in the world are bottoms-up when it comes to putting bulbs in the ground.