Bright Ideas for Bulbs!

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

bulb gallery 3

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.

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. 

Next Up

Planting Spring Bulbs in Fall

Whether you want masses of spring color or collect a few heirloom bulbs to share, all are easily planted in the fall.

Fall-Blooming Bulbs

The down side of planting bulbs in the fall: having to wait till the following spring to see the flowers. With these plants, though, you get flowers in just 3 weeks.

Plant Hyacinth Bulbs This Winter

It's not too late to plant hyacinth bulbs for a burst of color come spring.

Grow Guide: Planting Bulbs

Gardening expert Felder Rushing offers tips on planting bulbs.

Planting Spring Bulbs in Pots

Pots brimming with spring bulbs lift the spirits after winter. Plan ahead and plant up pots in the fall, and for a truly dazzling display, combine a collection of different flowers in one large container.

Tips for Planting Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Discover some easy design tricks and practical pointers for planting summer bulbs.

Timing Spring Bulb Planting

Spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted in fall in order to bloom come show time. The bulbs need a certain amount of time to get established before winter's freezing weather sets in, and they need enough time exposed to cool soil temperatures to be properly chilled. 

How to Grow Bold and Beautiful Bulbs

To get your flower bulbs to bloom in the spring, start planting in the fall.

Q&A: When Is It Too Late to Plant Bulbs?

If you miss the optimum planting time for spring-flowering bulbs, go ahead and plant them anyway.

How to Save and Replant Forced Seasonal Bulbs

In general, the most resilient candidates worth saving are small bulbs that naturalize or reproduce readily in the garden.