Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens

Bulbs, Fall, G A R D E N S, Gardens, Landscape Design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Last spring I shared a perennial garden design featuring alliums from Longfield Gardens (Bountiful Blooms, you can order the collection here). That was during allium bloom time. Now that it’s allium planting time, I am sharing a second design. As I’ve shared before, I use alliums frequently for their cool color palette, deer resistance and unexpected texture. The two designs that I developed for Longfield Gardens are completely different. The first one, Beautiful Blooms, focused on color and lush blooms. This second one, Daring Forms, plays on textures. I used Giant Allium ‘Gladiator’ and Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ in both designs, which showcases their versatility. All of the bulbs are available either separately or in pre-packaged in collections from www.longfield-gardens.com Articles on their website about these designs offer additional details, photos and more information about the plants.

Daring Forms collection available HERE, and additional article HERE

Bountiful Blooms collection available HERE, and additional article HERE.

 

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Inspiration: This garden weaves perennials, grasses and bulbs into a beautiful tapestry of changing colors and dynamic textures. The look is ethereal, but the plants are as tough as nails. This border will tolerate heat and drought, and requires very little maintenance. Planted among these easy-care perennials are three types of alliums, each with a different height, flower size and bloom time. They will be the crowning jewels in this contemporary garden design.

 

 

Implementing the Design:

With the last design I walked you through the planting process step by step. With this one, you’ll be able to follow along as we’re actually planting the perennials and bulbs. We will revisit the design over the course of next year so you can really see how all the plants will play with each other. A disclaimer is I only planted half of the design, making this only 9 feet x 10 feet compared to 18 wide.

 

WHEN TO PLANT:

The perennials in this design can be planted anytime between mid-spring (after the soil has warmed to 60+ degrees) through early fall. Whenever you plant, make sure to provide a consistent supply of water for the first few months so the plants are able to establish strong roots. Allium and crocus bulbs are only available for fall planting. You can purchase the bulbs in August or September, but wait to plant them until soil temperatures have cooled down, sometime between mid-October and the beginning of November. In mild years I have planted as late as Thanksgiving and have not had any issues. If you plant too early, the warmth of the soil can rot the bulbs.

 

 SELECTING PERENNIALS:

Giant Allium ‘Gladiator’, Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, Allium stipitatum ‘Mount Everest’ Species Crocus ‘Romance’ and Giant Crocus ‘Yalta’ – You can order the bulbs in the beginning of August up until November, but shop early for best selection. When the bulbs arrive (see image below for how bulbs will arrive), store them in a cool, dry location until you are ready to start planting.

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here is how my bulbs arrived from Longfield Gardens for planting. Keep bulbs in their bags until planting, once opened will be difficult to tell apart. Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Artemisia ‘Fowls Castle’, Pentsemon ‘Dark Towers’ Beardtongue, Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’, Ajuga reptans ‘Binblasca’ Bugleweed, Stachys byzantine ‘Helen von Stein’ – Look for these at your local garden center or online suppliers like Longfield Gardens. Plants in 1-2 quart containers are fine. Larger sizes cost more and require more work planting.

When selecting plants, take a minute to pull the plant from the container and look at the root system. You want to see fresh, white roots. Typically, the later in the season you purchase, the greater the chance the plant will be root bound. You can still buy root bound plants, but you will need to cut/slice the roots around the edges and cut off the bottom “foot” (about an inch) to encourage new growth before placing in the ground.  If you don’t the “tease” the roots there is a chance the roots will continue to circle and not properly establish— this is called girdling.

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Prepping for Planting:

When selecting the location for your border, look for a place that gets full sun. These plants will do great in a hot spot within your garden. Once you have your location, prep the bed by tilling or turning the soil and adding organic matter. I use leaf compost made from the previous year’s clippings, but you can purchase a similar product from your local garden center. A little goes a long way. If you amend your soil too much, you run the risk of having floppy plants later in the season. You want to make sure you are providing a well-balanced soil that drains well and has plenty of nutrients to help plants get established. If you’re unsure about the pH or nutrient levels in your soil, it wouldn’t hurt to start with a soil test. They’re available through garden centers or online services.

 

A handful of soil amendments to tilled into the soil prior to planting. you are looking to add this into the soil about 8-10 inches deep. Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

PLANTING:

STEP ONE: When you have your bed prepped and plants purchased, use the design as a guide for placing the plants on the bed – still in their containers. This allows you to work out spacing before you start to dig. Begin in the center of the bed and work out to the sides. If your bed is narrower or deeper than our 10 ft x 18 ft design, this will give you a chance to make some changes in spacing.  DO NOT PLACE OR PLANT THE BULBS YET, this will be the last step.

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

STEP TWO:  Once you finalized your placement, you can start planting. If your design is against a building, start at the back and work forward. Leave all the plants in their place and move one at a time as you dig the hole, then place the potted plant into its hole. Once all holes are dug, you can go back to un-pot, cut roots (see up in selecting plants about root bound plants) and formally plant. This method limits the exhaustive up and down strain on your back.

 

 

Here are the plants still in containers in their holes. You can see that this method sees the least disruption to the original placement. Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Here is a before and after of a root bound plant when preparing for planting. You can see all the white roots wrapping around the soil. In the second photo I have used my fingers to loosen and break the roots around the sides and used by soil knife to cut off the foot or bottom inch of soil. This step will help the roots travel into the new soil. Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

STEP THREE: When you have all the potted perennials planted, give each plant a deep watering. Proper moisture is the key to establishment. You can use an overhead sprinkler or water by hand. Either way, I always do the finger test. Stick your finger in the soil, if soil sticks to it, you are fine. If not, it’s too dry and you need to water more. If you plant the potted perennials in spring or summer, stop at this point and add the bulbs in the fall.

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

STEP FOUR: Referring to the design, start by placing your bulbs on top of the soil as you did with the plants. This way you can make sure you are happy with your spacing and have everything spread out. The ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Mount Everest’ bulbs should be mixed into the back third of the garden.  The crocuses are planted in groups of 4-5 bulbs keeping the ‘Romance’ within the ‘Helen von Stein’ and the ‘Yalta’ within the Bugleweed.

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

STEP FIVE: Once you have laid out all the bulbs, pick a corner and work across the bed, planting as you go. For each allium, dig a hole that’s 3 times the depth of the bulb and a little bigger than the width of the bulb. Place a sprinkle of bone meal in the bottom of the hole as a starter fertilizer, add the bulb and cover. For the crocuses, dig 8-inch diameter holes that are 3 times the depth of the bulbs. Add 4-5 crocus bulbs and cover. Once all the bulbs are planted, you can mulch the bed with chopped up yard leaves (optional).

 

Planting the Allium Bulbs: (note the depth of my soil knife in the first photo to showcase how deep you need an allium hole)Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Planting Crocus Bulbs:Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Here is the completed planting after the bulbs have been planted, but prior to covering of leaf mulch for the winter.  Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

MAINTENANCE:

The first year your garden will look good, the second year will be better, and the third year and beyond will be the real pay off for all your hard work. Consistent watering is key the first year, especially throughout the hot summer months. Make sure to remove any weeds that try to take root in the border. After a few years, the plants will be large enough to choke out most weeds.

 

I am a gardener who doesn’t cut back my perennials in the fall, because I like to enjoy their winter structure. That being said, if some plants are looking pretty gnarly, feel free to clean them up a bit. Come spring, we cut back the perennials for a fresh start and mulch the beds with 1½ to 2” of compost or chopped leaves. In this case, more is not better. We keep the mulch layer thin so as not to smother the base of the perennials. This organic matter will also feed your garden for the year so no addition fertilizer is really needed. By the second year, the perennials will be well rooted and you’ll only need to be concerned about watering during periods of drought. If you do water, make sure you are soaking the soil to encourage the roots to go deeper into the soil.  Shallow watering will encourage shallow roots.

 

 

 

ALLIUM and CROCUS MAINTENANCE:

The following spring, keep your eyes open for the bulbs breaking through with the rest of your perennials. The crocuses will bloom first in early spring followed by the alliums in late spring. The idea of this design is that once the bulbs have finished blooming, emerging perennials will cover up the dying bulb foliage. I am a big fan of leaving the dried heads of the alliums to add visual interest as far into the summer as possible. I generally end up pulling the dry stocks out come late July. You can also hang and dry the allium heads to make stunning dried arrangements.

 

I will share photos of the garden growing all next year and beyond so you can see how the design is expressed in living, growing, changing plants. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, I will be glad to answer. Please visit Longfield Gardens for additional information and to purchase the bulbs in used the design HERE.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF: daring-forms_allium_garden_design

 

Also, there are some other great bloggers sharing about allium bulbs throughout the week for you to check out:

Daring Forms with Longfield Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Bountiful Blooms with Longfield Gardens

Landscape Design, Perennials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

The National Garden Bureau has designated 2016 as the year of the allium! To celebrate, I have partnered with Longfield Gardens to design two perennial boarders highlighting the unique spring explosion of these rounded blooms.  I frequently include allium bulbs in my perennial border designs for their color, which goes with my typical cool palette, deer resistance, and unexpected texture. Since alliums are spring bulbs you plant in the fall, we’re sharing our first design now during its bloom; the second we’ll reveal in the fall, during planting season.  The bulbs and peonies included in this first design are available to purchase directly from www.longfield-gardens.com along with all the images and details of the design.

 

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.Inspiration: The highlight of this garden is the rich jewel-tone blooms, which are a reprieve from the pastels and bright sunny hues often associated with spring gardens. The spherical, fluffy heads of alliums sway above the heavy, lush peonies in a dense English garden-style border. Rich fuchsia, amethyst and mauve-hued blooms are grounded by the shocking chartreuse foliage of the lady’s mantle (Alchemila mollis). The design also incorporates low-maintenance perennials like Dwarf Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii), ‘Caradonna’ Sage (Salvia nemorosa) and ‘Little Spire’ (Perovskia atriplicifolia) to extend the beauty of this garden well past spring’s blooms.

 

 

implementingdesign

What excites me most about this partnership is the ability to implement the design. You get the knowledge of the supplier, designer and installer all in one design. I’ve shared all of the planting steps and tips for installing this garden design below, but be sure to visit Longfield Garden’s site for additional details, allium varieties and other spring flowering bulbs.

 

WHEN TO PLANT:

SPRING. You can start planting the perennials (the entire plant list expect the allium bulbs) as soon as your ground temperature reaches about 55 degrees. In Ohio, this is generally mid-April, but you can contact your local extension office for the specific date in your area. Planting early spring gives the plants a cool season to root and get well watered before the hot summer and provides a long growing season in the first year.  Find your local Extension HERE 

 

FALL. You can order your alliums starting in September from Longfield Gardens. Plant the bulbs once the ground has started to cool, which for us is normally mid-October to beginning of November. If they’re planted too early, the warm soil will rot the bulb.

 

SELECTING PERENNIALS:

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of peonies included in design.Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’ and Peony ‘Bunker Hill’ – These plants are shipped  bare root. When your plant arrives, store in a cool dark location until you are ready to plant.

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of Alliums included in design.

Alliums ‘Gladiator‘, ‘Purple Sensation’, christophill and drumstick – When these arrive as bulbs from Longfield in early September, store in a cool, dark location until you are ready to plant.

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of the perennials included in the design.

Lady’s Mantle, ‘Caradonna’ Sage, Cranesbill, Dwarf Catmint and Perovski ‘Little Spire’ Look for these perennials at your local garden center in 1-2 quart containers. They may offer larger sizes, but larger size does not guarantee better growing success, will cost more and require more work planting.

 

 

PREPPING FOR PLANTING:

When selecting the location for your border, look for a place that gets full sun. I recommend a location that gets really good southern light. These plants all do great up next to the house, along a driveway or along the property edges.  Once you have your location, prep the bed by tilling the soil and adding an organic matter. I use leaf compost made from the previous year’s clippings, but you can purchase a similar product from your local garden center. You want to make sure you are providing the best soil for the plants that drains well and has plenty of nutrients to help them establish and grow.

 

PLANTING:

When you have your bed prepped and plants purchased, use the design as a guide and place the plants still in their containers on the bed. This allows you to work out spacing before you start to dig. Start in the center of the bed and work out to the ends. If your bed is narrower or deeper that our 10ft x 18ft design, this will give you a chance to make some changes in spacing.

 

Once you are happy with your placement, you can start planting. If your design is against a building, start at the back and work forward. You want to plant in the harder to reach areas first and work your way out.  Regardless of where you are planting, I recommend planting the peonies last. You need to ensure that the eye of the plant is not placed more than ½- inch below the soil surface or you will not get prolific blooms.

Eye of peony - plant eye within .5-1 inch below hte soil surface. Test soil for moisture, properly watered soil will stick to your finger.  Details for planting Bountiful Blooms garden design from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

When you have everything planted, provide each plant with a deep watering. You can use a small overhead sprinkler. Proper moisture is the key to establishment. I do the finger test, stick your finger in the soil. If soil sticks to it, you are fine. If not, it’s too dry and you need to water.  After everything is watered you can go back and cover the bed with a leaf compost mulch. Keep the layer no more than one inch thick and a ½-inch ring away from each plant stock.

 

 

FIRST SUMMER MAINTENANCE:

The first year your garden will look good, the second year will be better, but the third year and beyond will be the ultimate pay off for all of your hard work.  For the first summer, cut back the plants a 2-3 times and deadhead after blooming. Since pushing blooms takes a lot of energy for the plant, cutting back blooms will send that energy into fortifying its root system instead, establishing the plant earlier.  Over the summer keep an eye on the plants to make sure they are getting adequate water (use finger test).

 

 

 

FALL ALLIUM PLANTING:

Use our bulb design for helping with placing the bulbs; you can place the bulbs before digging each hole to ensure you’re happy with your spacing.  We use a 4-6 inch auger bit to drill holes for the bulbs, but you can also use a hand shovel. Once you dig a hole, place bone meal as a starter fertilizer at the bottom of the hole. Once all the alliums are planted, you can place chopped up yard leaves over the bed. I prefer to cut back my perennials in the spring.

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Allium planting design for fall planting.

 

 

ALLIUM MAINTENANCE:

The following spring, keep your eyes open for the allium breaking through with the rest of your perennials. The alliums will require little to no maintenance from you. After the blooms are over, you can either cut back the stocks or keep the dried seed heads in the garden for their extra texture. For the bulbs, allow the foliage to die back naturally and you can pull by hand. This will ensure the bulb has stored enough energy/food for the next year.

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

 

Phew! I hope I provided all the details needed to give everyone the confidence to plant the design. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, I will be glad to help answer. Longfield created a great information sheet to print and use when planting and purchasing the plants (See Below). Also, Longfield Gardens has created a great landing page with the design and the ability to purchase the alliums and peonies directly. In September, we will release the second design just in time for ordering your allium bulbs.

 

Since this is the year of the allium, a few other bloggers have written about alliums throughout the week, each with a different experience and point of view. Check out the sites below:

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.