For seven weeks this garden has been a heartthrob. That’s one huge, sustained wallop of wonderful that you need in your life next year. And the action continues…
If you thought for one instant that spring bulbs are fleeting, we want to disprove that falsehood forever. Although the double tulips, camassias, and poeticus daffodils are the drumroll right now, many of the narcissus that opened this act are still performing strong. This show has a long run. And if you want to snitch any of designer Jacqueline van der Kloet’s brilliant ideas for combos or layout—go right ahead. They are up for grabs. In fact, sharing secrets for bulbs is what this garden is all about. Got a pad? Start taking notes!
All Eyes on the House
Not only is Narcissus poeticus recurvus one of the last daffodils to open, many would say it’s the most graceful and artistic. Imagine a display with hundreds of eyes (they call them “pheasant’s eyes”) facing different directions on long, lean stems. That’s the scene that greets anyone walking by the Colorblends house in our Bridgeport neighborhood. Talk about floral therapy. And it’s a good argument in favor of planting in large quantities. Although a few pheasant’s eyes in a grouping will be lovely, a thousand is just completely arresting—and psychologically healing. You could stand and admire them by the hour—and people do. It’s like an ever-changing art installation—when galleries aren’t an option.
Not all double tulips blossom late, but the fluffy flowers in plum and white-colored blend we call Diamond Touch definitely finish the parade at the Colorblends pageant this year. They aren’t the only tulips on stage by a long shot. The tulip confection at the heart of the garden is still going strong. But there’s something super sumptuous about a big plump mass of petals topping a slender stem that feels like a suspension of reality. It’s magic. People gravitate over. And unlike the pompom-like peonies that might blossom later in your garden, double tulips need no staking. Our combos are balanced beautifully to synchronize for maximum hubba hubba. The secret: Snuggle bulbs closely together when planting – they support one another. Literally, these are supporting cast.
Flowers of Many Stripes
Can’t choose a favorite blend of tulips? We hear you. And that’s one reason why we installed the spring garden. Sure, it gives us a stage to strut our splendor. But the venue also suggests strategies for you to bring home. Can’t choose? Spring for several! The result is beyond fab.
The secret to making it happen? When we put in stripes of different combinations, we simply dig up a long, lean rectangle of soil, tuck in the bulbs, and cover them up with 5-6 inches of soil. Then we leave a couple of feet of blank space between stripes for access/maintenance purposes and install another matching combo side-by-side. We keep right on going with simple rectangles of bulbs performing. And it forms an optical illusion. Until you come close up, the display reads like one solid mass of tulips. Not only do the corridors give us space to keep the beds pristine, but they also let you get up close for photography from all angles.
Wands of Blue Wading through Grass
No doubt about it, we like to deliver constant surprises. Did you notice how the garden always has a new highlight scheduled to happen for the whole duration of the show? It’s basically an on-going rollout of star attractions. This week, the camassias are coming out loud and clear.
If you’ve never encountered a camassia, you are in for a thrill. We’re talking tall wands of starry flowers in the best blue imaginable. Remember that field of Narcissus ‘Jetfire’ smack dab in the middle of the Colorblends House backyard? We let the grass grow up (this is the easiest possible stunt—you just leave the lawnmower to gather dust in the garage) and now the camassias tower above, making an instant meadow. Of course, we had all this planned previously—spring bulbs are about planning in autumn. But spring is when we enjoy the fruits of our plans. Plant camassias, and you’ve just turned a throwaway space into an extravaganza of deep, sea blue splendor.
Not many bulbs are made for the shade, but Spanish bluebells dote on the darker nooks in your property. Not only do they send up wands of porcelain blue that form a river of color, but they multiply enthusiastically to fill in the flow. Every year, you get further dividends. No maintenance is needed—after planting, they’re on autopilot. And guess what—these bulbs perform throughout the country—including the warmer states. Our friends in the Southern states can get in on the bulb bonanza!
The Colorblends Spring Garden is by no means over. So much drama is still unfolding as some daffodils are still going strong. There’s a stray ‘Jetfire’ is still holding firm, but more prominently, ‘W.P. Milner’ has continued nonstop from the start and shows no sign of ceasing while miniature, multi-flowered ‘Hawera’ is now in high prime. There’s plenty of inspiration to be seen. And we’ve been proud to put a smile on your faces even during a pandemic. That’s the strength of bulbs. They are a role model for perseverance. We’re all survivors.