Designing with Bulbs

Designing with Bulbs


This Saturday morning, as part of our Bulbs for Breast Cancer fund-raiser, I will be teaching a free class about Designing with Bulbs. In my opinion, bulbs are an integral part of every garden. They double the color that you can enjoy, no matter how small the space.

The picture above, taken in my own garden on Monday morning, illustrates one of the important design principles I will be talking about. Shown is Colchicum ‘Waterlily’, a fall blooming bulb. I purposely placed it near a culinary sage plant on the south side of my house. I knew that the pink of the flower and the silvery gray of the foliage would contrast well together.

In addition, you can see at the base a perennial that will not even think about flowering until the very end of October- Allium thunbergii ‘Ozowa’. This diminutive herbaceous Allium is as cute as a button, totally reliable, and the perfect accompaniment the sage and the Colchicum.

Think about where you can tuck bulbs in. There are two main places to consider:

1. Add bulbs near plants that sprout late in the spring. Hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, Asclepias, Caryopteris, ferns, and Platycodon are examples of plants that leave quite a visual gap in the early garden Bulbs fill that gap.


One of my favorite combinations- hyacinths, grape hyacinths, Brunnera, and candytuft in April in our rock garden.

2.  Combine bulbs with perennials or shrubs that bloom at the same time. This will create a marriage made in heaven. I have produced a chart that shows the exact time that our bulbs bloomin Connecticut. This makes it easy to figure out some stunning combinations.

My staff can help you figure all of this out. I hope you can attend this design class on Saturday to learn more.