Meadow Lawn Alternative: Learn About Planting A Meadow Lawn
By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
A meadow lawn alternative is an option for homeowners who are tired of the labor involved in maintaining a traditional lawn. Planting a meadow lawn is a lot of hard work initially, but once established, it requires very little upkeep. Click here for more.
Five top tips for growing drifts of snowdrops in your garden
FOR a flower so tiny, elegant and beloved by gardeners it seems almost impossible to believe that snowdrops thrive on neglect.
Don't try to naturalise snowdrops in your lawn
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they'll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
But some of the most sought-after varieties of this flowering bulb, that is so eagerly collected by its fans, were once found growing on a former garden rubbish tip at the National Trust's Anglesey Abbey.
And some of the most moving displays of these winter warmers are to be seen in ancient church graveyards, where the bulbs have self-seeded without restraint thanks to the grass being only occasionally trimmed.
There's a lesson here for anybody who hopes to colonise their garden with these beautiful flowers - and here are five top tips for growing them:
1) Don't try to naturalise them in your lawn
You can plant snowdrops under grass and they will probably flower every year but they are unlikely
to really spread very far. That's because they need several weeks after they have finished flowering to carry on photosynthesizing and store food in their bulbs for the following year. Mowing over the leaves will prevent them from doing this properly.
Try to plant them under trees
2) Do plant them under trees
Like many flowering bulbs, snowdrops thrive in the soil under deciduous trees that loose their leaves in autumn.
The fallen leaves break down and enrich the soil, providing them with an excellent food source. Without any leaves to block the winter sunlight the soil will warm enough for them to emerge, but in summer the new leaves will keep the hibernating bulb out of the sun's desiccating heat.
Don't plant the flowers around evergreen shrubs
British gardens that rival Chelsea Flower Show
Cottage Garden Tips
These pointers will help you make an easy-to-care-for cottage garden design that looks great.
Rely on Hardscaping
Boulders, laid out in natural-looking formations and dug one-third of the way into the soil, are good year-round anchors that complement their flower companions. In addition, a picket or rustic fence makes a fitting backdrop to a cottage garden, adding order to the visual chaos of mixed plantings.
Add Vintage Garden Accessories
It provides a convenient focal point, and, if you use it as a planter, a stage for plants so they're not lost among their peers. Old wagons, fertilizer spreaders, bins, and baskets make good additions. Especially in cottage garden design for small gardens, use them in moderation to avoid a junkyard effect.
Plant Long-Lasting Annuals
Be methodical about which plants you pick, whether they are cottage garden plants for shade or full sun. Melampodium blooms all summer without any coddling. Love-in-a-mist (Nigella) can't match melampodium's length of bloom, but it offers ornamental seedpods that last into winter. Love-in-a-mist also reseeds itself without becoming a pest, making your job easier.
3. Perfect for shady areas: bark
Ideal for dark corners under trees where even shade-tolerant types of grass struggle to grow well, bark feels more at home, although simple water-worn gravels work too. Choose natural stripped pine bark or similar and, for colour and texture, add plants in areas not used for seating. Easy-care woodlanders such as wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae), Siberian bugloss (Brunnera), white wood aster (Aster divaricatus), dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum) and lungwort (Pulmonaria) are tough and need no maintenance once established.
With bark, you can simply spread an 8-10cm layer over the soil, but it will need topping up every other year. Alternatively, use landscape fabric to keep weeds down, make slits with a Stanley knife and plant through.