William Robinson Encouraged Naturalizing Bulbs in the English Garden

In the spring time one of my favorite public gardens to visit is Blithewold in Bristol, Rhode Island.

In the bosquet area, near the house,  thousands of spring bulbs will bloom for the next several weeks.

American gardeners owe the encouragement of  such naturalizing of spring bulbs to the popular Irish plantsman and writer William Robinson (1838-1935).  He supported that type of planting in the English garden so a gardener would not have to suffer the high maintenance of annuals which demanded fresh planting every year.

The spring bulbs naturalize in the bosquet section of Blithewold.

The spring bulbs naturalize in the bosquet section of Blithewold.

In his book The English Garden Edward Hyams wrote “The Robinson technique of naturalizing bulb plants under trees and shrubs came into its own [at the end of the nineteenth century.”

Daffodils and other spring bulbs lend themselves to such naturalizing because they multiply, and come up faithfully every year.

The area for the bulbs at Blithewold is somewhat shady, but they put on their show faithfully every spring.

Blithewold’s 2013 season opens on Tuesday, April 2.  Daffodil Days begin on Saturday, April 6.

In 2010 Yankee Magazine named  Blithewold one of the Best Five Public Gardens in New England.  I understand that award completely.

American gardening owes a great deal to the writing of the nineteenth century British plantsman William Robinson, author of The Wild Garden.


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