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We all have our weaknesses, and one of mine is for those bicolor tulips that have a rim of one color and central color of another. while solid colors make a strong statement in the landscape view, the striking look of two colors suits me best.
One way I like to see these flowers in the garden are in the company of a harmonious lowgrowing perennial. One that picks up the lighter of the two colors.
If a two tone of red and white is planted, then one of the white flowered perennials like Arabis would be pretty.
Other Perennial Companions
- Phlox subulata
- Alyssum (Aurinia) saxatile
- Arenaria montana
- Aubrieta deltoidea
Plant Companions For Bicolor Bulbs
Besides perennials that echo the color of one of the hues, a solid color companion is probably best. Strong green foliage background may be the ideal foil, but plants that provide a frame and not a pattern competition allows the two tone blooms to stand out.
Another good companion is a solid color in a similar type of tulip. Bringing out one of the shades or contrasting altogether. This is where you color sense comes into play. Just be sure to match up flowering times and heights when planting tulips for this kind of display.
The Spring Ephemerals
Perennials that bloom in spring and then fade from the scene are called “ephemerals”. Virginia bluebells, Bleeding hearts, are two of the best known. Their foliage is an attractive match with flowering bulbs. The two tone bleeding hearts in cherry red and white look well with similar bicolor flowers.
The Bluebells have a fantastic blue and pinkish color with lush green leaves which looks especially pretty with pinks, but harmonizes with other colors, too. These two plants grow well with spring bulbs.
In The Landscape
Sometimes a flower or plant looks wonderful close at hand, but its qualities are lost when viewed in the overall landscape. Tulips tend to stand out. Their colors make a powerful impact on the impression even when viewed from the a distance.
Two tone, bicolor tulips tend to blend in distance viewing, but many still retain some feeling of shade distinction. I think it is always an attractive result. It might even be a better look than the solid tones, giving the effect of outlining the individual blooms.
Bulb Planting Rules
The rule of thumb is to plant no less than 10 in a group, preferably 20. It is more important to effect for the bicolor varieties. a larger group enhances their qualities, but too small a number looks lonely and small. So be sure to plant a proper sized group of them. If you add a blooming perennial at their feet, I think you will really like the picture that creates in your garden plan.
Are you planning on planting tulips this fall? what do you think of the bicolor varieties?