Adding Surprising Blooms to Sustainable Landscapes
Landscaping sustainably inherently excludes traditionally grown annuals. While we don’t miss the waste, we do sometimes miss the unexpected change annuals can provide in a garden. To bring back the element of surprise, consider incorporating native bulbs. Not only will you get the surprise of the flower come spring, but it will be an even bigger surprise to see which ones decide to come back!
Allium: You may never guess it from the charming blooms, but Allium are part of the onion and garlic families! Most will range from 1-2 inches in height with their diaphanous blooms emerging from the top of a leafless stalk.
Brodiaea (Cluster-Lilies): Their appearance is delicate, but they are a strong versatile bulb. Brodiaea’s bold blue or purple petals synchronize like a dance among other wildflowers. Cluster lilies can also be used for cut flowers to bring the season inside. A delicate delight, Brodiaea’s stalk is slender and the leaves are quite sparse.
Lilium humboldtii: This native Lily grows as tall as your head along river beds just above the water line. Its exceptionally striking orange color contrasts with native counterparts in the vicinity, as it splendidly emerges once other blooms have faded. Walk your local LA shaded stream beds in the foothills to find these gems.
Triteleias (Triplet Lilies): Triplet lilies are easy to grow and super adaptable to normal gardens. Native varieties range from white and yellow to purple to true blue.
(Click photos at right for a tour of the blooms.)
Each of these 4 bulbs will bring more than surprise and beauty. Hearty native bulbs brighten areas with no irrigation. Pink, purple white and yellow attract pollinators with their candyland of color. When bulbs’ foliage dies back as the seasons change, nutrients are restored back into the bulb to begin the cycle again.As you plant, make sure good drainage exists when planting bulbs in a place where summer water may occur. That is all it takes to bring back seasonal color and the charming element of surprise!
Check the theodorepayne.org website for bulb availability and order online now.