Spring is unfolding early and like never before at the Colorblends House and Spring Garden. Really, it’s like nature knows we crave a strong dose of comfort and beauty right now, and the garden is pulling all the plugs to fill that need. We know that many of you cannot visit the Colorblends Garden at this time. So we decided to bring the garden to you virtually. Join us on our various social media platforms in the coming weeks for a chronicle of how spring is unfolding in the Colorblends Spring Garden. If you can’t come to our garden—we will bring our garden to you.
A Carpet of Crocus
And the garden is performing gangbusters. It is palpitating. It pulls in passersby and makes traffic pause. Take your wildest wall-to-wall dream of crocuses-gone-crazy and multiply it by several thousand. But the beauty of this display is: You CAN do this at home. With just a shovel and a few feet of ground between you and the sidewalk, this scene is within your reach.
Picture this: Before you even enter the Colorblends Garden, battalions of crocus are blossoming. They scamper over the front lawn in droves, delivering spring before anything else is happening—except maybe the snowdrops. But then, we pushed the envelope and mixed snowdrops into the show. And we added striped squill (puschkinias) as well. The result is literally heart-stopping. Let us tell you how it’s done.
But before diving into the how-to, let’s get you up to speed. Before the crowd-pleasing carpet ramped up, Crocus tommasinianus broke winter’s spell. At the Colorblends Garden, we tucked little gatherings of tommies in pockets knowing they would lead into the explosion that would come later. When planting these modest (but much appreciated) performers, you’ll want to nestle several bulbs together to make a statement. Oblivious to snow, they will break winter’s spell. No, they are not super flashy, but you need these guys.
And also super-early, Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ poked its indomitable spears up followed swiftly by the sort of royal purple flowers that you can spot from a distance. Wisely, they were placed right along the roadside where they could be enjoyed before the garden was fully accessible.
Crocuses can be Drama Queens
Then comes the awe. If you’ve only encountered crocuses in small doses, this is a whole different look. First of all, the Dutch crocuses are a beefed-up version of this reliable, stoic performer. Our Hokus Crocus blend combines royal purple, white, and striped blue blossoms for a harmonious carpet of color. Like a sea of Easter eggs, the blossoms swell and unfurl at your feet. Like magic, they do it despite a late season snow flurry or two.
You are craving live entertainment right now, and this is a virtual concert. Jacqueline van der Kloet, the Dutch designer who orchestrated our garden, specializes in creating bulb combinations throughout the world. Flying against the tradition of bulb displays of a single color or variety, she mixes it up. Her template is the fact that plants coexist in colonies in their natural settings. And that’s exactly what she did on the Colorblends’ front lawn. She clustered Dutch crocus, snowdrops, and puschkinias in little groupings scattered throughout the front. The colors all coincide—snowdrops are white and green, striped squills (puschkinias) are white with pale blue pencil stripes, and the Dutch crocuses are purple, white, and blue-striped. The heights all match. And the result is a romping carpet of color rushing out the opening gate in spring.
Creating the Look
You can do this at home! No special expertise needed. In the autumn, when Colorblends ships out its spring bulbs, order Dutch crocus, striped squill (aka puschkinias), and snowdrop bulbs. You’ll want to ramp up the quantities if you hope to really make a statement. Combine this trio of bulbs together in a bucket. Shake them up. Dig small 8-12 inch pockets that are 3 inches deep. Then scoop up a handful or two of bulbs and toss it into the hole. Repeat throughout your space. Cover them up, firm the soil down, and then wait until spring. Simple as that.
This is just the beginning of the pageant and other little nuggets are joining in daily. Most visibly, the blue squill (Scilla siberica) stands out from a distance. We’re talking a sailor blue color that you won’t find at any other time of year. Blue squill has tiny blossoms, but they have a mighty voice.
As you wander into the garden, more Dutch crocus dapple the ground, running ahead of the stampede that will happen later. They dance around with combinations that will unfold gradually. Even now, some early tulips (like ‘Scarlet Baby’) are joining in to the chorus. This is just for starters. This is only the appetizer of phenomenal things to come. Join us as the parade progresses. To be continued…