John Scheepers2017

Explosive Annual Color

In the horticultural world, annuals are known to have the broadest range of color. To keep gardening fun, alive and less laborious, the old 80%/20% adage seems fitting. Consider designing display gardens with 80% shrubbery and perennial flower bulbs and plants. You may refer to our Naturalizing Flower Bulbs section.

The remaining 20% can be devoted to annual plant material, including Tulips (most of which are not perennial in nature: they peter out over time). Keep space open in between perennials for interspersed colors of Tulips that you can replant every year or two with different color themes to keep family and friends in spring suspense. It is fun to change things up every year: pink and white, purple and pink, pink and orange, black and white or red and yellow combinations to spark renewed uhs and ahs. Make sure that the cluster or drift space is marked with labels for easy fall planting.

Once the Tulips have bloomed out, the plant and bulb can be removed and discarded and the space can be filled with summer annuals to keep the color explosion going. You can use the 'Tulip' space to plant easy direct-sow flower seeds from our sister company Kitchen Garden Seeds, like Bells of Ireland, Blue Flax Linum, Catmint Nepeta, Cleome, Cosmos, Delphinium, Heuchera, Hollyhocks, Lavatera, Lupines, Poppies, Shasta Daisies, Sunflowers, Tithonia or Zinnias. Or, as is becoming increasingly more popular, you can interplant lush ornamental edibles among the perennials, like lettuce, basil, Swiss chard or kale, all of which are easy to grow from seed. It is amazing how much you can easily grow from seed for little money with huge results.

If you want to try to keep Tulips going from year to year, select from among varieties of Greigii, Kaufmanniana, Species or Giant Darwin Hybrid Tulips, many of which are good repeat bloomers. Plant them in a good spot, at least to the specified depth, fed them three times a year with a 4-10-6 granular organic fertilizer and never cut them for bouquets. If they are happy where they are, they can reward you with several years of blooms. For massive armloads of cut Tulips and bragging rights on garden-club-worthy bouquets, plant a separate cutting garden each fall. You may refer to our Cutting Garden Flower Bulbs section.