The soil must be properly prepared in advance if Wildflower Bulbs are to thrive. Whether we are talking about an ornamental cherry or a full-grown Ash or beech the approach is broadly similar.
Whilst the size of the tree is not critical under mature trees the area suitable for planting will only start about 1.5m from the trunk. The type of Bulbs is more limited where the canopy effect is more pronounced.
In natural woodlands the sheer volume of leaves available for leaf mould means that the soil is naturally light with a high humus content.
In the garden the tendency is that most leaves are cleared away. In this case the area should be lightly dug and as much organic matter, especially leaf mould, incorporated as possible.
If large tree roots are near the surface or the soil is heavy clay, then a slightly raised bed of specially prepared soil may be more successful. This is not necessary under small trees or shrubs.
Lack of water is one of the most common causes of failure to flower. In current and subsequent years where there may be too little growth to produce a flowering size bulb.
The area beneath shrubs, with their lighter leaf canopy, and the outer reaches of the canopy of large trees. These are where the near drought conditions of summer are not so intense.This offer more chance for experimentation
The range of bulbs suitable for planting right under the low, spreading canopy of large trees is more limited.
Because the summer moisture levels may be so severely reduced we suggest you concentrate on spring flowering Wildflower bulbs
Eranthis Hyemalis and Galanthus Nivalis, all of which will happily seed into each other to form a carpet. These conditions also suit bluebells, the native Hyacinthioides Non Scripta. Wild garlic (Allium Ursinum) is another option though it may be too vigorous and can take over.
Ramsons Wild Garlic
Evergreen trees and the permanent shade of buildings create a very different problem.
They may provide a permanent umbrella against moisture and conifers have shallow, questing roots which quickly invade any carefully prepared soil. Only the most vigorous bulbs such as Bluebells may cope in these harsh conditions.