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Combining Bulbs and Perennials for Year-Round Interest in Your Garden - The Seattle Times


Gardening enthusiasts are always on the lookout for ways to add beauty and interest to their yards throughout the year. One effective way to achieve this is by combining bulbs and perennials in the garden. By carefully selecting and arranging these plants, you can create a visually stunning and dynamic landscape that evolves with the changing seasons. In this article, we will explore how to combine bulbs and perennials for year-round interest in your garden, as featured in The Seattle Times.


Tulips and Bleeding Hearts

In spring, the garden comes alive with the blooming of tulips and the delicate foliage of bleeding hearts. These two plants complement each other beautifully, with the vibrant colors of tulips providing a striking contrast to the soft, ethereal blooms of bleeding hearts. Plant a mix of early, mid, and late-blooming tulip varieties to ensure a continuous display of color throughout the season.

Daffodils and Hellebores

Daffodils and hellebores are another winning combination for the spring garden. The cheerful yellow blooms of daffodils pair perfectly with the elegant, nodding flowers of hellebores. This pairing adds a touch of elegance and charm to any garden bed or border.


Alliums and Coneflowers

As spring transitions into summer, alliums and coneflowers take center stage. The spherical blooms of alliums create a bold focal point, while the daisy-like flowers of coneflowers provide a softer, more casual counterpoint. This pairing adds height, texture, and a touch of whimsy to the summer garden.

Lilies and Daylilies

Lilies and daylilies are another dynamic duo for the summer garden. The exotic, fragrant blooms of lilies add drama and elegance, while the cheerful, reblooming flowers of daylilies provide a pop of color and a long-lasting display. This combination is sure to brighten any garden space during the lazy days of summer.


Crocus and Sedum

As summer fades into fall, crocus and sedum make a stunning combination. The delicate, jewel-toned blooms of crocus signal the arrival of autumn, while the sturdy, succulent foliage of sedum provides a beautiful backdrop. This pairing brings a touch of whimsy and vibrancy to the fall garden.

Iris and Japanese Anemone

Iris and Japanese anemone are another winning combination for the fall garden. The regal blooms of iris add a touch of elegance, while the delicate, nodding flowers of Japanese anemone create a sense of tranquility and grace. This pairing adds depth and sophistication to any garden bed or border.


Snowdrops and Heuchera

Even in the depth of winter, there are opportunities to add interest to the garden. Snowdrops and heuchera make a lovely combination for the winter garden. The delicate, nodding flowers of snowdrops bring a sense of hope and renewal, while the evergreen foliage of heuchera provides a welcome touch of color and texture. This pairing adds a sense of resilience and beauty to the winter landscape.

Cyclamen and Bergenia

Cyclamen and bergenia are another delightful pairing for the winter garden. The delicate, swept-back flowers of cyclamen add a touch of whimsy, while the bold, leathery leaves of bergenia provide a solid foundation. This combination adds a sense of playfulness and structure to the winter garden.

Tips for Successful Bulb and Perennial Combinations

  • Consider Height and Structure: When combining bulbs and perennials, consider the height and structure of each plant to create a visually pleasing arrangement. Taller plants can serve as focal points, while lower-growing plants can fill in the gaps and provide a sense of balance.

  • Pay Attention to Bloom Times: Select a mix of early, mid, and late-blooming bulbs and perennials to ensure a continuous display of color and interest throughout the year. This strategic planning will help you create a garden that evolves with the changing seasons.

  • Mind Your Color Palette: Pay attention to the color palette of your chosen bulbs and perennials. Harmonious color combinations can create a sense of cohesion and tranquility, while bold contrasts can add drama and excitement to the garden.

  • Consider Foliage and Texture: Don't just focus on the bloomsâ€"consider the foliage and texture of each plant as well. Varied foliage can add depth and interest to the garden, even when the plants are not in bloom.

  • Provide Adequate Sunlight and Water: Make sure to plant your bulbs and perennials in locations that provide the appropriate amount of sunlight and water for each plant's specific needs. This will ensure that your garden thrives throughout the year.

By carefully selecting and combining bulbs and perennials, you can create a garden that provides year-round interest and beauty. With a mindful approach to plant selection and placement, you can enjoy a dynamic and ever-changing landscape that delights the senses in every season. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and start planning your bulb and perennial combinations for a beautiful garden that evolves throughout the year.

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