Bulb Lawns & Meadows

With bulbs emerging more every day, this blog is timely in promoting the earliest of bulbs showing color in areas of turf or short meadows where they bloom above the turf as it’s just starting to green up.  Above and below are some early crocuses (Crocus sp.) blooming in April in areas that will become mown turf later in the season. All of these bulbs are fall planted and are inserted under neat the turf and at an appropriate depth below grade.  The trick is using the earliest emerging bulbs that will “do their thing” before the grass gets too tall and needs to be mown for the first time.  The bulbs should be left to start going dormant before the first turf cutting and in some cases, the grass is quite long at that point.  Imagine this additional beauty in a turf situation that doesn’t offer much interest until later in the spring once it really starts growing.  Further down are examples of short meadows at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI) that are full of early bulbs that pop up, bloom and go dormant as the grasses take over.    This paragraph on the topic doesn’t do it justice so do a bit more research on how to properly incorporate perennial bulbs in these turf/meadow areas for early season interest!


We had a great day at the gardens.  Cindy B. worked on lots of tidying today with significant clean-up in the woodland walk garden.  Larry O. worked on odds and ends including helping keep all the guys moving along.  Ron R., new Bob and Lloyd all had garden duties which included bringing in more elements from the Holiday Light Show (HLS).  Alan and Dr. Gredler worked on painting.  Maury ran errands while Gary S. continued some repairs on our engraver.  Peg was in later for some work on our plant records and Jenny spent the day preparing labels for the annuals that will arrive in the coming weeks.  Jim, Steve and Vern worked on carpentry projects while Dick H. helped with some other projects.  Kristin was in later to continue tidying in the Japanese garden.  Bill O. helped haul back the HLS structures that were loaded up for us today by guys from Paulson-Kimball Construction.  We also saw Rollie, Mark S., Chris G., Maryam P. and many others today.

The photo above and all of those below were taken in April and May over various years at Olbrich Botanical Garden (OBG) in Madison, WI.  These colorful bulbs put on quite a show before the rest of the meadow perks up and fills in thoroughly.  What a great way to include early color in a space that really benefits from early season impact prior to significant growth of the warmer season plants!  There is a progression of bulbs for two months in this space before the grasses fully take over in summer.