How to Use Bulbs in the Landscape
Foundation Planting - Bulbs will add color in the early spring to a foundation planting if planted in a grouping of twelve or more bulbs. Evergreen shrubs planted in the foundation planting will provide a nice background for planting of bulbs. Pay attention to the foliage color of annuals and perennials. The foliage of some of these plants in the foundation planting will make a nice backdrop for groupings of bulbs.
Deciduous Shrubs and Trees - Spring bulbs can be planted under deciduous shrubs or small trees in the landscape. Do not plant spring bulbs under evergreen shrubs or they will not have enough light to grow and bloom. The early blooming bulbs receive plenty of light because they start growing long before deciduous trees and shrubs start to develop leaves. Some bulbs that perform well under trees and shrubs include: grape hyacinths, crocus, winter aconites, snowdrops, siberian squill, leucojums, bluebells and early maturing daffodils. By carefully selecting spring bulbs to match blooming dates with the bloom of the shrub, they can provide a beautiful color contrast with early flowering shrubs such as forsythia or flowering quince. They can be used in combination with smaller flowering trees like crabapple, bradford pear or redbud.
Border Planting - A border of low growing bulbs such as grape hyacinths, hyacinths or small daffodils planted around the edge of a vegetable garden or flower bed adds interest to these areas. A border of bulbs planted along the edge of the lawn will add a splash of color to the lawn area.
Perennial Beds & Rock Gardens - Spring bulbs can be designed into a perennial bed or border to add areas of spring color. The bulbs will bloom during March, April and May before perennials start to flower. Locate the bulbs in the planting bed so the dying foliage will not be noticed. The spring bulbs used in the perennial border can be left in the ground the year around or they can be removed and replaced by other plants after flowering is complete. When planning borders, it is essential to take into consideration the heights and spacings needed by different plants.
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