Bulbs are an essential component of a well designed planting scheme and can make spring feel like it has come early, as well as extending the season of interest and enhancing the wider planting scheme, if you consider the varieties you use well. They can be especially useful beneath late season plants as they provide colour and interest earlier in the year and will die back hidden within the foliage before the perennials do their thing later on.
We use a wide range of bulbs in our clients gardens, to match the colours in the planting scheme for a harmonious look or as a contrasting bright colour pop, you can be a little more daring with colour as they flower for a relatively short time.
Here are some of our favourite varieties selected and planted this year.
Flowering in late April ‘Negrita’ is a classic single Tulip with rich purple flowers. Always an elegant choice for both traditional and contemporary planting schemes. As with most bulbs they are more effective when planted en-masse in groups or swathes through the border.
Less commonly used Allium christophii has large 20cm globe flowerheads made up of small pale purple star shaped flowers in June and July. These shorter Alliums look particularly striking planted through grasses where the large globes appear to float above the foliage.
We have used this combination together beneath late flowering Calamagrostis brachytricha to that effect in our Forest Glade garden design.
A small delicate daffodil with two or three flowers per stem. The outer petals are a soft creamy white while the central cup has a hint of powdery yellow. Lovely planted in small groups through perennials or around trees and shrubs for a natural feel.
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’
A larger than usual Crocus with deep purple petals fading to white at the centre with contrasting bright orange anthers. This robust little flower will provide early spring interest in February and March when the days are still dark. Plant in generous sweeps for the best effect.
Allium ‘Mount Everest’
A tall upright Allium with large globe heads made up of small white starry flowers. We have planted these as part of an all white planting scheme with Tulipa ‘Purissima’ and Narcissus ‘Thalia’. Their statuesque form will provide interest long after they have flowered as they will be left standing for their sculptural quality throughout the year.
This is an elegant slim lily flowered Tulip with deep rich burgundy tones and a velvety appearance. We have planted these in sweeps with Tulipa ‘Negrita’ as part of the deep purple and pink scheme in our Monroe Drive garden design.
Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’
A small winter flowering Iris with deep blue-purple flowers and contrasting yellow stripe on the falls. Flowering in January they bring some of the earliest interest to the garden and colour when we most need it. We have planted groups of these little tubers below a border of Hakonechloa marca in a courtyard garden for delicate but vivid early interest.
Tulipa ‘Black Hero’
A sumptuos deep red peony flowered Tulip with a satin sheen. This is a focal point flower that should be planted where it can be appreciated. We have planted them in the same small courtyard through the raised beds near a seating area where the double flowers can be enjoyed close up.