KC Gardens

How to mass spring bulbs for color

Tulips

Tip of the Week

Reds, yellows, oranges and many other pastel shades light up springtime when the flower bulbs burst into color. Fall is the ideal time to plant these spring beauties in the garden. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and many other smaller flowering bulbs sleep the winter away waiting for spring conditions to pop.

Planting bulbs for the greatest impact of color does not just happen — it must be planned. Shopping for the bulbs should be done after thorough planning. Impulse buying is always fun but often results in a less than colorful display.

When designing a bulb planting you should follow a couple of simple rules for best results. Planning not only helps improve the look of the display but also aids as a guide for the number of bulbs to purchase. Bulbs are an investment and care should be taken.

One of the most important design tips for planting bulbs is the idea that this is one of those times when more is better. Mass plantings provide for the greatest show. One, two or even three bulbs get lost in the landscape. A showy display should include at least six to eight bulbs with a dozen or two dozen being more spectacular.

Group the bulbs into a mass. Avoid planting bulbs in a linear shape. A single row of tulips provide little, if any, show. Instead, plant three or four rows to create a wash of color. Circular beds or pockets of bulbs tucked into shrub plants or the perennial garden is another way to improve appearance.

Planting a mass of bulbs is not the only tip for greatest success. Masses of color are necessary. A large planting of the same color sells the display, catching the eye. Some of the least effective displays are a rainbow of colors mixed together. One red, one yellow and one orange loses their impact in the garden.

Color variety can be achieved in the garden display, but the color should be grouped. Plan and plant spring flowering bulbs in drifts, or groupings, by color. Plant a drift of red, flowing into a sea of yellow, turning into a bed of pink, and so on. This method lets the rainbow of color show in the garden while catching the eye.

The latest trend in planting is to color blend the mass. Instead of using just a pink variety, blend several shades of pink together for a more interesting combination. This gives more depth and interest to the planting. Also remember that warm colors such as reds, yellows and oranges jump. Cool colors, which are shades of light pink, lavender or pale yellow, tend to recede into the landscape. That means, if you want to attract attention from the street in a front planting the bold, warm colors are best. While lounging around the patio for relaxation, cool colors provide a calming effect.

Let your imagination flow and your landscape will be a showstopper after our long bleak winter. Spring flowering bulbs are good for the soul, just as sunshine is after a week of cloudy weather.

Take advantage of these ideal fall conditions and plant a sea of color for spring. You may think the bulbs are sleeping for the winter, but in fact they are alive and growing, getting ready to burst forth with spring color.

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