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Lasagne plantings for public gardens

Benny Crastle

Public gardens are perfect locations for typical seasonal plantings that use flower bulbs. Snowdrops and crocuses are welcome harbingers of spring. These, and many other flower bulbs, bloom at different times during the spring. By selecting the right lillies for your garden and flower bulb combination for spring use in 'lasagne planting', it becomes possible to enjoy flower bulbs in bloom for weeks on end.

Lasagne planting

To make the most of the various periods in which flower bulbs bloom, they can be planted in layers. This is also referred to as 'lasagne planting'. Just like when making lasagne, this involves planting the bulbs in layers. Planted in the top layer are the bulbs that bloom earliest such as crocuses or botanical tulips. Directly beneath these is another layer containing a kind of bulb that will bloom somewhat later like the Hyacinth. The use of this method produces successively flowering plants. It is amazing to watch the first layer of plants still in flower as the next layer gradually emerges among them.

Once the flowers in the first layer have faded, the second layer is in full bloom. This process continues until the flowers in the last layer have faded. This fascinating succession of growth can be seen in the accompanying images. With a carefully selected collection of flower bulbs, a public garden can be filled with colour for at least six weeks. Any combination of colours can be created: a series of bulbs, each of which produces all white, all purple or all pink flowers; a multi-coloured succession of bright colours; or an elegant succession of pastel colours. A public garden that uses a lasagne planting is continually changing and wonderful to look at over time.

Ideal partners

Crocus Sativus Bulbs make perfect partners for perennials. The Crocus Sativus Bulbs provide colour early in the spring, and the perennials take over during the second half of the season. The Hosta, for example, is already covered in leaves by May. By planting daffodils or squalls beneath the hosts, a public garden will display flowers as early as February and then on into April. And once the hostas have achieved their mature size, the leaves of the daffodils or squills which are dying back will be hidden beneath the hostas.

Another nice combination is the white Aster divaricatus (a perennial) with the pastel blue Chionodoxa forbesii (a flower bulb). Chionodoxa will start to flower in March If you planting the bulbs on right time. Once the leaves of the aster emerge later in the spring, the faded flowers of the Chionodoxa will disappear among the aster's foliage. A third recommendation would be a combination of Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue' (a flower bulb) with Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea' (a perennial). This Ipheion produces blue star-shaped flowers from March through June, while the decorative leaves of the Actaea will have grown up between them by the end of May.