Masses of spring bulbs can seem to chase winter from the garden. As beautiful as they are on their own, they also make beautiful springtime companions for trees, shrubs, vegetable gardens, perennial gardens or as borders.
Bulbs fit as well in wooded areas as they do around foundation plants. As they are easily moved, bulbs can be used as a flexible landscape enhancer. Usually the first colors of the spring garden, healthy bulbs are almost pest and maintenance free.
In areas where flowers are wanted to hide an unsightly but unavoidable structure, like the foundation of the house, groupings of bulbs will add the interest of spring color. Perennials and shrubs, usual foundation plants, make a nice background, especially when the bulbs are planted in groups of a dozen or more. The various sizes of bulb plants, from tiny crocus to taller tulips and daffodils, will bring an early and visually-appealing springtime boost to areas that previously had need of camouflage.
Deciduous Shrubs and Trees
Flowers from bulbs start to grow long before deciduous trees start to leaf out and rob the areas beneath them of sunlight. When planted beneath early flowering deciduous trees like crabapple and bradford pear, or early flowering shrubs like forsythia, bulbs of grape hyacinths, snowdrops and early daffodils can offer a spectacular show after a long winter. Avoid planting bulbs beneath evergreen trees and shrubs, as the lack of light will interfere with the bulb's ability to bloom.
A vegetable garden can be brightened with a border of maintenance-free flower bulbs that will bring color and interest to the expanse. Many gardeners use bulbs at the lawn's edge for color. Masses of bulb flowers along thin areas caused by walks give a colorful show to an otherwise boring area. Daffodils and tulips are especially well suited to these areas, but avoid planting them in single file. Dig a trench, place the bulbs fairly close together, right-side up, and cover.
Perennial and Rock Gardens
Spring bulbs will flower and give life to the perennial garden from March through May, long before the perennials are ready to bloom. The bulbs should be planted in an area that allows the flowers to show, but will be hidden by the growing perennial as the bulb foliage dies back.
Bulbs can be left in most perennial and rock gardens year round, as long as they do not take up space needed for later-blooming plants. Choose the bulb according to the height of the bloom. The tiny crocus and snowdrops will fit nicely in the front of the garden. Tulips, daffodils and some alliums will need taller perennials in front of them to hide the dying foliage after they are done blooming.