Spring on Many Levels

Spring is on a staggered schedule. Just check your thermometer and you’ll see the yo-yo in action. Fortunately, most bulbs are designed to take the seesawing in stride. The Colorblends Spring Garden displays how much weather can impact a spring bulb show, with new blooms popping up quickly in warm weather and lingering longer in the cooler air. If you visit The Garden, you’ll see the display changing every week through mid-May. As you walk along the blooms you might also notice—a spring display can be staged in tiers. You would assume that the first daffs to pop up would all be short, right? Wrong! If you play your cards right and plant smart, you can get a dose of daffodils on all levels. I think of the wee Tête-à-Tête as one of the first daffodils out of the starting gate in spring, and sure enough, this little wonder stands only 7-9 inches above the ground. Following close on its heels is Jetfire, which stands just a little taller at 10-12 inches. This bloom couples the a fiery orange cup with yellow petals flung back to emphasize its jet-like propulsion, and lingers for weeks. No wonder Jacqueline van der Kloet selected Jetfire as the star performer weaving throughout The Garden. And she planted plenty for continuity. Amid the Jetfire display, Narcissus Rapture sweeps in at 12-14 inches with its long, oboe-shaped cup and back-swept petals. Rapture does not stand alone, because the taller bright yellow daffodils are already making a strong showing. It will bloom for weeks. Golden Harvest and Marieke rush up to blossom fast and unabashedly yellow, clocking...

This Magic Moment

Every spring is unique. When you plant bulbs, you are beginning a story that will play out differently every hour, every day, and every year from that moment onward. Factors like light, weather, and soil can all impact performance. Since no two springs bring the same conditions, the Colorblends Spring Garden in Bridgeport is totally unique this year. It’s All About Layers Bulbs are a dialogue, and they work well in groups together. Right now, at The Garden, different varieties are talking to each other from across the turf, each adding to the significance of the overall display. And it’s educating visitors about possibilities. Go ahead. Steal some planting ideas that could work in your landscape. Labels in the garden are meant to help you select your favorites, so jot down the name of that daffodil with the open face and butter yellow frill that begins blooming early and keeps on entertaining (Narcissus Cassata, raise your hand). Still on Stage Depending on conditions, crocuses can be long range entertainers rather than just a quick surge. They are still putting on a show at The Garden. Also still scampering around are Striped Squill (Puschkinia) and Glory of the Snow (Chiniodoxa). They’ve pushed their blossoms up together, creating a tapestry of soft blues and whites that feels restful—like a gently flowing river. The gentle blooms spread across the lawn, softening the fervent yellows of daffodils. Hint: pair Blue Squill with a bright yellow daffodil for a rich pairing of complementary colors. Daffodils Beyond Your Wildest Dreams Daffodils are putting on a performance this week. Jetfire is the star, holding the stage...

Bravery in Blossom

This year we all crave color like never before, and after a long winter, it’s HERE. At the Colorblends House & Spring Garden in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the floodgates open early to give you the shot of spring you so desperately need. If you can’t get to Bridgeport to take it all in in-person, share in the splendor as the blooms evolve via their Facebook page. Are you feeling lightheaded? I promise: It’s only Spring Fever. Crocuses Before the color burst of daffodils or the rush of unabashed tulips, before the hyacinths and all the other wonders of spring…in come the crocuses! A hundred crocuses is a start, but if you really want to bring your neighbors to their knees, imagine crocuses by the thousand. The Garden welcomes spring with a strong statement of color by creating waves of crocuses across the lawns. The collection continues to grow each year as more bulbs are planted, making a bigger impact with each seasonal bloom. The season starts subtle with those intrepid little Tommies (Crocus tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’) that open their modest, blush purple blossoms among the earliest spring flowers. Then comes Hokus Crocus, a blend of purple, white, and white striped with purple crocuses. The purples and whites play off of each other to create an eye-catching carpet. Look closely and you’ll discover that your crocuses are courted by a herd of honeybees desperately searching for their first feast of the season. Snowdrops If spring is a race, then the Snowdrops are rushing in first. These early gems lay the groundwork for good things to come, combining the bright white of...

And the Beat Goes On

  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.     Double Delights 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...

Paradise Sustained

The Colorblends garden proves that tulips can be a long, lingering springtime romance. If you thought that tulips were here today and gone tomorrow, think again. This year is proof that tulips have mileage—they just keep getting better. Last week was breathtaking in the garden, we’ve all agreed. But this week is even more ravishing, if that’s possible. The tulips have swollen into huge goblets of color. More accent tulips have unfolded to join the chorus. The color parade is phenomenal and it shows no signs of pausing in its palpitating production. Take a look at the fireworks—no place on earth could be prouder than this wonderful reborn white elephant of a house in Bridgeport surrounded in a rainbow of colorful skirts. This is nature’s therapy delivered straight to your heart. Suspended Animation Remember Cretaceous with its fulsome flowers about the size of cabbage heads featured last week? Still flowering strong! We’re talking petal-packed blossoms in sunray yellow etched with orange. Overheard in the garden, “This is my favorite—it looks like a Dutch painting.” And Cretaceous is proof that tulips need not be poker straight—the stems in this group have graceful expression. It’s like the dance of the tutus. And as I mentioned last week—this tulip blend greets visitors as they turn the corner into the garden as a radiant ambassador for color. But Cretaceous is just one example of the prolonged pulsation because the Wellspring blend has added dimension and nuances of color and so has Vitamin See and Sorbetto (still a crowd pleaser). Tulip colors transform as they evolve over time, swell, and mature. They even change...