Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Remembering Bloom Times -my Gardening Oops

The first of every month is Gardening Oops day at Joene's Garden blog.  There she describes a recent garden miscues with the goal of educating other gardeners.  This month I found a garden oops of my own to share.

Early Tulips:  Added Apricot Emperor Tulips
to a large mass of early yellow Tulips and Daffodils
While I work primarily with native plants, I have also been doing more and more bulb plantings.  The intense color of bulbs in the spring brings a welcome end to winter.  I've tried to make things interesting by putting together some less common color combinations.  In addition to working out colors, you also need to consider bloom times to get those combos to show up together.

Putting in a few orange tulips was pretty effective for adding a little more interest to a nearly all yellow bed.  These also went well with the few grape hyacinths scattered around.

Late Tulips: Orangy 'Dordogne' with purple 'Cum Laude'
and some mid-season 'Purple Prince' in the background.

Another combination I thought long and hard about was combining orangy and purple shades.  In this example I used late season varieties (normally blooming in May).  Some late season Daffodils in the background crank up the color intensity of this combination.

I really like the color of the 'Dordogne' tulip.  I got a bunch of these bulbs and used them in several clients gardens.  I had a few left over so I decided I should use them in my own yard.  This is where the Oops comes in.   Since I don't have too much extra space I looked hard for a place to put them.  I finally settled on putting a few clumps under the Moss Phlox in the front border.  This seem to be the perfect space.  I imagined these beautiful tulips coming up through the mossy green foliage of the Phlox.  At least that what I thought when I planted them in October.

It turns out that this tulip blooms at the same time as the 'Emerald Blue' Phlox.  This is not a combo I would have consciously put together.

'Dordogne' with blue Moss Phlox,
not the prettiest picture.

OOPS.  Not what I expected last October!

But if you zoom back a little further on this scene, you can really get assaulted by adding in the intense red of this Azalea.  So while I did find a great place in space for my new tulips, it turned out to be the wrong place in time, considering the colors of the existing plants.  

Other options for planting tulips in front of intensely colored shrubs are to use bulbs that aren't blooming when the shrub is in flower, or to better match the color of the bulbs to the shrubs.  Perhaps an all white tulip or one with red streaks in it would work better.

Well, when it gets too intense in the front yard I can always head around to the back yard where the native ephemerals paint a much more calming scene.
Fiddleheads of Christmas Fern unfurling in front
of some Large Flowered Bellwort and  Twinleaf


Laurrie said...

I'm glad to see you joining the Garden Oops meme. Be sure to leave a comment on Joene's blog to let others know your oops is here. . . it's a classic one!

In fact, Thomas Ranier at http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-perennial-border-matters.html has a great essay on his blog about perennial borders which require knowing the timing of when and how everything grows, not just what a static view of a particular plant looks like.

You're finding the same challenge. Your tulips are beautiful, but they do need to play with others!

Angela said...

Great blog and excellent pictures!

Curtis said...

Thanks Angela. After I took these photos some blue Spanish Hyacinths opened up behind the Dordogne Tulips. This combination seems to work. It's amazing how some subtle differences in hue can really change how a combination works.