Planting Companions for Bulbs
|October 20, 2011||Posted by admin under Bulbs|
One of my favorite ways of using bulbs is to create a carpet of color under a tree or shrub. Miniature drifts of bluebells in May, a golden stretch of aconites in winter, or for autumn a lilac haze of autumn crocus or colchicum, all look splendid and can introduce an extra season of color to the tree or shrub.
Many bulbs look good together. Winter aconites and single snowdrops look fabulous grown as companions, especially poking up through russet-brown leaves left over from the previous autumn, or recently fallen snow.
Bulbs are great in containers too. Whatever season you are planting for try to include some bulbs in the compost beneath your main planting. These could be for the main season, or to prolong the container display. A few bulbs that flower in winter or early spring, such as miniature narcissus, dwarf iris or crocus will really make sure that your winter containers last that bit longer. Use crocosmia in a similar way to bring late summer and early autumn color to the border.
To make sure that you take every opportunity to use bulbs, whatever the season, remember that there are plenty of less common ones available from specialist nurseries. Some of these not only look unusual, but will allow you to use them with a different range of plants and help to fill gaps in the border pretty well throughout the year.
This is an excellent guide to integrating roses into a garden with other plants instead of keeping them in a separate location in a bare, mulched rose bed. Well written text and good pictures.
I love a cottage garden effect, with lots of bright colors, not only from the usual bulbs, but from spring perennials. Daffodils and tulips look lovely with daisy-like doronicums, wallflowers in almost any hue and winter pansies, which never really get going until spring.
In the wild, oxlips, primroses and wood anemones grow among bluebells and wild garlic. The same effect is easy to achieve in a shady garden. The lilac-blue, Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’, is especially worth looking out for blended with such exotics as Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, the gorgeous spring pea, Lathyrus vernus and the blue flowers of Corydalis flexuosa.
For autumn joy, back up your late bulbs with hardy, spray chrysanthemums. You’ll be surprised at how good the vivid yellow button-blooms of Dendranthema ‘Nantyderry Sunshine’ and the rich, garnet hues of D. ‘Ruby Mound’ look with the big, lilac blooms of Colchicum speciosum or the sinister toad lilies, Tricyrtis formosana.
And always remember that one of the finest companions for bulbs at any time is grass. Daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, camassia and fritillaries all look fantastic when naturalized in rough grass, or in a set-aside area of your lawn.