10 Beautiful Ways to Landscape With Bulbs

Bulbs are among the most anticipated flowers — their appearance signals a new garden season along with the return of color to the gloomy late-winter landscape. However, this fall, before you plant a smattering of tulips here and also a bag of daffodils there, consider what impact you want and the way you can replicate the bulbs’ dying foliage that’s necessary for the following season’s blossoms.

All these 10 design ideas can help you achieve the best impact from the spring and summer bulbs you plant in fall.

The Todd Group

1. Let them multiply. Few springtime sights are as spectacular as masses of naturalized bulbs — informal sweeps that seem like Mother Nature did the planting herself.

When choosing bulbs for a naturalized planting, then look for species and varieties that will multiply readily without becoming invasive. Also search for a location where you can live with all the relaxed look of dying bulb foliage once the flowers are gone.

Excellent choices consist of small bulbs like crocus, snowdrops and scilla for yards; grape hyacinth, species tulips and ‘tete-a-tete’ dwarf daffodils for rock gardens; along with larger daffodils and checkered lily (fritillaria meleagris) for areas and woodland settings.

The Todd Group

Among the most striking regions to plant bulbs to multiply freely in is beneath deciduous trees and along woodland paths. The bulbs will get ample sunlight before the trees leaf out.

Great Oaks Landscape Associates Inc..

2. Mix with companion crops. The trickiest part of gardening with bulbs involves getting through the inevitable ugly stage — that the time required after flowering for foliage to die back and store energy for next year’s blossoms. Now, you are going to want nearby plantings that can disguise the leaves and take over.

Don’t worry about the minor foliage of smaller bulbs like species tulips, muscari and crocus. Team midsize bulbs with perennials like rockcress, lady’s mantle, Oriental poppy, catmint, chrysanthemum, shasta daisy and candytuft. Tall later-blooming bulbs require larger companies, such as hostas, little shrubs and shorter ornamental grasses.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

3. Fill containers with color. Surprisingly, maybe, bulbs perform too in containers as they do from the floor. Plant portable baskets in fall, then overwinter the plants in a cold garage or storage shed before putting the containers out in spring. You will have the benefit of being able to put color directly where you want it.

Denise Dering Design

4. Play with color schemes. As a rule of thumb, plant bulbs in large groupings for the most impact. (Aim for at least 12 larger bulbs and 50 or more if they’re small.)

Even though it’s advisable to maintain bulbs of the same variety together, you can occasionally incorporate a random additional to create the happy accidental look of a cottage garden.

Verdance Landscape Design

In monochromatic schemes, the bulbs’ most important role is to supply design interest rather than color. Because of this, you can use fewer bulbs to accomplish the target. In this picture, little staggered groupings of tulips provide rhythm and repeat, leading the eye down the route to front door.

Small Miracles Designs

5. Reinforce your garden’s style. Precisely the exact same bulb can appear formal or informal depending on how you utilize it. For casual landscapes, set bulbs in an intermittent manner to mimic how they would grow in character.

The New York Botanical Garden

For a more formal look, plant that same bulb in rows alongside a route or a driveway. This more manicured look works great with larger-flowering bulbs like Darwin hybrid tulips or tall alliums.

The Todd Group

6. Use shrubs as perfect backdrops. Spring-blooming bulbs pop if planted in front of evergreen shrubs in a boundary or a foundation planting. Even white seems dazzling in comparison to the shrubs’ dark green.

Natalie DeNormandie

7. Plant for a layered effect. Create greater impact by using the same room to plant small, medium and large bulbs on top of one another.

For instance, in the same 8-inch deep gap, it’s possible to first plant alliums or massive tulips and protect them with a few inches of soil. Insert hyacinths or mini daffodils that you also pay for, then finish with little bulbs like crocuses, species tulips, and grape hyacinths.

Inside this picture, alliums are preparing to bloom, while daffodils and hyacinths are going strong.

Carolyn Chadwick

Layering can choose an abundant, natural look that’s perfect for casual gardens and meadows. Here, agapanthus and culture garlic set onto a multilayered show.

See more of this landscape layout in Greece

Summerset Gardens/Joe Weuste

8. Create a view. If you’re like most anglers, you long to look out of your window and peek that colorful bloom. Look at planting with this in mind. Mark places in your lawn that can easily be seen from the windows you frequently look through.

B. Gardening Landscape Design

9. Keep color. Use a mixture of bulbs that bloom early, midseason and late in the summer to supply sequential color in your garden. Plant them near perennials that will peak a bit later, pay the remnants of those dying bulbs and maintain the color alive.

Conte & Conte, LLC

10. Edge the garden. Use smaller bulbs like grape hyacinth or scilla as a colorful border to frame a formal bulb garden or the early-season greens in a vegetable plot. Here, elevated beds of pink and coral tulips are accentuated by grape hyacinth. Though a planting like that is magnificent, you will want to remove the bulbs after they bloom or include sufficient perennials or annuals to give interest until the foliage obviously dies.

More: 6 Unsung Bulbs for Fall Planting

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Vase Shapes Set Shrubs

When you cut blossoms to bring them inside, how can you display them off? I bet at least a few of the time you put them in a vase. And guess what? You can use that notion to shrubs in your garden too. Flowers — and leaves too — look ever so sophisticated in forms that are skinny at the bottom and billowing at the top.

Most are greatest with a bit of yearly training and pruning, particularly eliminating suckers that pop up in their feet, but the problem is well worth the return. Here are a number of vase-shaped shrubs, and it occurs that four are spring bloomers, so now’s the perfect time to be thinking in their place in your garden design.

Fountain butterfly bush (Buddleia alternifolia, zones 5 to 9) is a bigger cousin of the more familiar butterfly bushes. Unlike those, this blooms with a frothing fount of lavender in spring, therefore its title. Fountain butterfly bush blooms on last season’s wood, so prune it just right after it blossoms. This drought-resistant shrub likes sunshine and narrow soil, and its silvery leaves make it interesting during the growing season. Cultivar ‘Argentea’ is much more silver.

Photo by Cillas through Wikimedia Commons

Kerria (Kerria japonica, zones 4 to 9) is just another vase-shaped attractiveness that colonizes politely, so give it space to spread. In spring, it blossoms in tens of tens of thousands of gold daisies. This tree does best in part shade, even reasonably dry color, but average soil is nice. For all-season interest, look for variegated cultivar ‘Picta’.

Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica, zones 7 to 10) is a bulletproof evergreen with gorgeous gold-flecked foliage that can’t be overcome. A workhorse for shade, in which it positively glows, it’s good in tough spots near trees and inquires little maintenance. Protection from drying winds from the northern reaches of its range is greatest.

Another perk of vase-shaped shrubs? They’re beautiful from above. This is a venerable beauty (Kolkwitzia amabilis, zones 4 to 8) in my garden, as seen from a second-floor window. It blooms in spring with pink flowers that smell like bubble gum, after which it fades to the background, although its peeling old trunks at floor level are eye catching even in winter. Beauty bush is an easy drought-resistant shrub. It does best in sun to part sun but will take a bit of shade.

Elderberry cultivars are sensual, busty foliage plants grown mostly for their colorful foliage, like this one, branded as Black Mirror (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, zones 4 to 8). They bloom pink or white, which adds to the show. A lot of different species exist, for instance, native elderberry (Sambucus canadensis, zones 3 to 9), which produces edible fruit. All are hard and thrive in full sun to part shade and ordinary garden soil, though in my experience they like a bit of shade in the hottest part of the day.

Who could forget the throw orange? Really easy to grow, therefore freely, fragrantly blooming in spring, and several natives and their cultivars are more available to the trade all the time. (This is one, Philadelphus lewisii, zones 4 to 8.) Frequent threads among mock oranges, aside from the above: They grow in almost any old place in full sun to part shade, and their clean, crisp foliage is attractive even if they are not in bloom. Cultivars of various sizes also mean there’s a mock orange for any size garden, no matter how little.

Photo by A. Barra through Wikimedia Commons

More amazing design crops:
Red-Leafed Mukdenia | Blue Chalk Sticks| Hens-and-Chicks | Redtwig Dogwood |Toyon

Wonderful design trees:
Bald Cypress | Chinese Witch Hazel |Japanese Maple | Manzanita | Persian Ironwood
Smoke Tree | Texas Mountain Laurel |Tree Aloe

Great design blossoms:
Catmint | Golden Creeping Jenny | Pacific Coast Iris | Plumbago | Red Kangaroo Paw
Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant |Snake Flower

Great design grasses:
Black Mondo Grass | Cape Rush |Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass

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