When I bought my house (in southern Minnesota), one of the things I loved about it was a flower bed along the side of the garage that requires very very little maintenance. At the end of the summer, I pull the dried stems of the flowers that it put up in August; and early in the spring I transplant the few expansions to the area that sprout up in the neighboring lawn area to the end where I'm encouraging it to spread. Other than occasional watering in the heat of summer, that's pretty much it. The greenery of the tons of bulbs seems to do a great job of keeping the weeds at bay, and then in the fall it becomes its own straw/mulch cover. Year after year those bulbs have been just the perfect low maintenance garden.
I've been trying to encourage the same kind of bulb garden in a couple other parts of the yard, but no matter what I do, the bulbs keep getting overrun with various weeds. How do I get these new beds to the point that they're self maintaining like the established one?
The two areas have pretty much the same soil and water. The newer area might have slightly better soil in so far as it has been turned over more recently and had some potting soil that came with the bulbs worked into it as part of planting the new bulbs. The new area also gets a little more direct sunlight in the morning, and more shade in the afternoon.
I don't know the particular variety of bulbs in the existing bed, but I'm pretty sure I have photos of them, I'll dig some up tomorrow. In the new bed I planted a variety of tulips and crocus. The bags the bulbs came in claim they need 4-6 hours of direct sunlight which is about what they were getting all summer.