Combining Bulbs & Perennials
- Tulips & Asiatic Lilies — For a dramatic springtime effect that will lead a second life in summertime, combine plantings of colorful Darwin Hybrid or Single Late tulips with Asiatic lilies. The tulips will bloom in mid to late spring — in bright pinks, yellow, oranges, reds, purples and whites. The Asiatic lilies will bloom in mid-summer — but their foliage appears in mid-spring to create a wonderful foundation layer of green as the blooming tulips reign above. As the tulips fade, the lilies take over, growing taller and taller to mask the dying foliage of the tulips. In midsummer the lilies reign, with blooms of vivid yellow, orange, maroon and pink.
- Pink Daffodils & Purple Partners — Pink daffodils are set off to perfection by perennials with foliage in supporting colors. Try pink Narcissus ‘Passionale’ with dark-leaved Huechera ‘Purple Palace’ (coral bells). Other partners for pink daffodils include lavender cowslips, lovely Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower), purple or pink common foxgloves and various perennial geraniums.
- Grey, Dark Red & Purple — For those used to civic bands of red and yellow splashed across the spring landscape, the more subtle shades of grey, red and purple can be unexpectedly dramatic. For impact, try tulips such as rich pink T. ‘Peer Gynt’ with dark maroon T. ‘Black Parrot’ and T. ‘Burgundy’. Add dark red Astrantias ‘Claret’, broad-leaved sage, and purple Salvia officinalis ‘Berggarten’.
- Bright White, Green and Blue — For a look that reaches high notes of variegated energy, try planting the Viridiflora tulip ‘Spring Green’ (white flushed with green stripes) with similarly variegated Hosta fortunei ‘Albopicta’. Now add bright blue Brunnera macrophyylla (Siberian bugloss), yellowish-green lady’s mantle (Alchemilla), and Geranium x magnificum. For the piece de résistance, set all within a naturalized sea of camassia bulbs with their tall greenish spires and soft blue florets that bloom for weeks on end in late spring.
- Brilliant Orange, Yellow & Purple — Start the summer boldly with brilliant beds of Asiatic lilies in punchy yellows and oranges. Now add searing purple Japanese iris. Wow!
- Purples, Greens and Yellow — For early summer color, pair dark-foliaged Huechera ‘Purple Palace’ (coral bells) with the frilly yellow florets of Allium moly and tall sword-leafed Iris psuedocorus (yellow flag).
- Powerful Pinks and Reds — For mid-summer exitement it’s hard to beat a combination of lilies and clematis. Both come back year after year, getting better as they mature. One high voltage combo pairs hot pink-and white striped Clematis ‘Carnaby’ with non-fading fuchsia Asiatic lily ‘Cote d’Azur’.
- Jaunty Yellow, Jolly Orange — Yellow black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba) provide weeks of brilliant summer color. Add an unexpected touch: interplant with tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium). Tall and slender, the lilies nod above the "Susans" — with their black-spotted orange petals curled backwards like paper party lanterns.
- Summery Pinks and Yellows — A charming mid- to late-summer bloom combo pairs daisy-like pink and white coneflowers (Echinaecea) with similarly colored garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), backed by a mix of yellow yarrow (Achilla) and tall wheat-colored reed grass (Calamagrostis). Round out the look with bright pink Oriental lilies ‘Star Gazer’ and ‘Vino’, orange tiger lilies, and ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum (whose tight green florets turn pink as autumn approaches).