This is the perfect time to be thinking about making the most of your garden space by interplanting bulbs with your perennials and grasses. It’s not too late to order bulbs and you really don’t want to plant until October anyway.
The flowers of Anemone blanda are very small but planted in groupings of at least ten, they make quite a splash. One of my favorite spring combinations is Tulipa ‘Lady Jane’ and ‘Lilac Wonder’ (both are species that rebloom fairly well), Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’ and Blue Shades with Arabis caucasica. The Anemone is also available in pink but I think the white and the blue have the greatest effect.
I love to use the smaller Allium species of which there many to extend bloom time in the garden by using ones that bloom before or after the perennials with which they are interplanted. Allium unifolium (also known as A.roseum) is pink and 12” high. This one I planted in Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo Karmina’. The Geranium is semi-evergreen and has bright pink flowers that bloom in May while the Allium unifolium starts at the same time but continues with its soft pink flowers into early June.
Another combination with which I have been very happy is Allium christophii planted between Astrantia (Masterwort). This short but large balled Allium has pale lavender flowers that appear in late May and early June while the Astrantia does not bloom until mid to late June. The structure of this Allium is quite appealing even after the petals have dropped and I often leave them for quite a long time. I have visited more than one garden where the owner painted the deadheads bright colors to add color to the garden for a very long time.
A later combination with alliums is Allium nigrum with Papaver orientale ‘Pizzicato’ and Penstemon barbatus. The white of the allium is strong enough to compete with the two orange flowered perennials and is taller than either.
I also use the bulbs for color echo. In one of my shady beds, I have Heucherea ‘Color Beauty’ the foliage of which is silver, green, and dark red. Just to the left of it, I planted Tulipa ‘Jan Reus’ that is nearly black. I’ve also used very dark red tulips there.
It’s really fun to create these kinds of combinations. I’d love to hear about the ones you’ve created.