Bright Ideas for Bulbs!

Good gardeners know that the best spring garden starts in the fall.
bulb gallery 3

bulb gallery 3

Amethyst-colored hyacinths in the foreground and Tulip Triumph 'Dynasty' behind make a beautiful border.

Photo by: Photos courtesy of Longfield Gardens.

Photos courtesy of Longfield Gardens.

Amethyst-colored hyacinths in the foreground and Tulip Triumph 'Dynasty' behind make a beautiful border.

When the days get shorter and the dark settles in early, spring seems a long way off. But now’s the time to get those tulips, hyacinths and other flowers bulbs in the ground to ensure a bright and colorful world surrounds you after the last frost. 

Hans Langeveld, third generation Dutch-American plantsman and co-owner of the bulb importer Longfield Gardens, has spent decades experimenting with bulbs of every size, shape and variety. Here are four of his favorite ways to work them into a landscape: 

On the Edge 

“You can define spaces and direct the flow of foot traffic using plants as borders in your garden,” Langeveld says. “By planting hostas, caladiums or border dahlias in a row towards a front porch or gated entrance, you can create an inviting border that guides guests to their destination.”

Mix It Up 

Langeveld suggests choosing tulip and daffodil varieties that bloom in the same period of spring. “Mix short and medium-tall varieties with small flowers and taller varieties with larger flowers,” he says. “Pre-mix the bulbs and plant them together all at once in a trend 6-8 inches deep.” 

Hue’s There? 

Monochromatic colors are going to be big for spring. “Try an appealing mix of blue and purple hues starring blue grape hyacinths, fuchsia hyacinths and purple tulips,” he says. “This trio of mid-spring bloomers are framed beautifully by a border of green.” 

bulb gallery 8

bulb gallery 8

Fringed tulips like this 'Red Wing' add an interesting texture to the landscape.

Fringed tulips like this 'Red Wing' add an interesting texture to the landscape.

Feel the Difference 

Mulch, stone and planters keep the eye engaged, but texture can come from flowers, too. “Some tulips have smooth petals while fringed or parrot tulips have more jagged or ridged petals, giving it a stronger textured appearance,” he says.