Cozy bulbs

Marking plantings aids in finding them when blooms are gone
Jim McCausland

Spring-flowering daffodils, Dutch irises, and tulips look most natural when planted in clusters or drifts throughout the garden and snuggled among other plants. But how do you keep track of them later in the season after the tops have withered and vanished? You might end up slicing through your prized varieties when you stick a spade in the ground to plant summer annuals.

Marilynne Munro of Sequim, Washington, has found the answer to this dilemma: She plants drifts of bulbs next to hefty boulders. The bulb foliage may fade, but the rocks act as place markers forever. Stone also happens to be a great foil for the showy spring blooms.

To follow Munro's method, plant one to two dozen bulbs in a kidney-shaped drift at the base of a rock; if you don't have any rocks, position some around the garden before planting. Sandwich the bulbs between a marker stone and another permanent plant, such as Viburnum davidii. When the bulbs are in bloom, they add a splash of color to the area. After the bulbs die down, you'll know where to look for them next spring.