Documents:

Easy Flower Bulbs Encourage Creative Gardening Ideas
by Sally Ferguson
August 14, 2011

Flower bulbs are among the easiest plants in the garden to grow successfully. Very little knowledge is needed, and most of that can be found on the packaging. Gardeners, regardless of skill level, are thus free to explore their creativity. That's another thing flower bulbs are well suited for. Fall-planted tulips, daffodils, alliums and other spring bloomers offer gardeners an endless palette of colors, shapes, sizes and bloom times.

Here are some design tips from the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center in Danby, Vt., www.bulb.com, to get the creative juices flowing.

Consider Grass as a Canvas. One planting spot that's often overlooked is the lawn, where less traveled places make a pleasing backdrop for the bright colors of spring bulb flowers. Even a few bulbs sprinkled throughout the lawn can have a bold effect come spring.

Swaths of bulb flowers. With a bit of effort, but fun for all that, bulbs can be planted in lawns or woodland settings to bloom in spring in great swaths of color. For the more playful, it's even possible to make designs or patterns with flowers. Many will return and spread, spring after spring. Bulbs bought in quantity are often discounted. These types of plantings are perfect for parks and community gardens, so neighbors can band together to share the cost of group orders, often at wholesale prices.

Naturalistic Plantings. Bulbs are equally effective planted sparingly among other plants in a naturalistic way. Many sophisticated landscape designers prize this fresh new look. Bulbs can also be planted in clusters, as bouquets of color in the spring landscape or garden beds.

Double-decker plantings. Many refer to this method as making a "bulb lasagna" because it involves planting layers of bulbs one on top of the other. The idea is to combine low growing bulb flowers with taller bulb flowers that bloom in the same spot at the same time or in a desired sequence. The result is two-tiers of eye-catching color, with taller plants blooming above a carpet of lower growing color below. The strategic gardener can combine early, mid and late blooming bulbs planted in the same spot to achieve wave after wave of double-decker splendor. This technique works equally well in a garden bed or in large containers.

Contained Color. Flower bulbs are perfect for planting in containers. In all but the coldest climates, it's easy to create container plantings that burst forth in spring as portable pots of color. In areas so cold the bulbs might freeze, smaller containers should be moved to a garage or other protected place, or grouped and wrapped with burlap or bubble wrap. Generally only very large bulb containers, whiskey barrel size or larger, fare well in zones colder than USDA zone 7.

Whatever planting idea you can imagine is likely achievable with flower bulbs. They're nature's paintbox of spring color, available this and every fall to gardeners of all skill levels from kindergarten through master's class. For more information about flower bulbs, visit www.bulb.com.

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row