Interplant Bulbs Among Perennials
If you intend to interplant clusters of flower bulbs between summer perennials or shrubbery, give them all plenty of room to breath and grow. Take a look at what other plant material is in the garden and consider planting flower bulbs away from garden 'bullies' with strong rooting action, or invasive garden 'thugs' that tend to take over and choke others. Plant the flower bulbs strategically so that as the flower bulb foliage dies back, one's eye and attention focuses on surrounding perennials.
Perennial Allium, Brodaiea, Camassia, Herbacecous Peonies, Hyacinths, Eremurus, Fritillaria, Dutch Iris, Ixiolirion tataricum ssp pallasii, Leucojum and Narcissi are all wonderful candidates for interspersed clusters of dazzling spring blooms for perennial garden display. They will bring gardens alive with color, texture and structural magnificence well before summer perennial plants have begun to show any of their own true colors. You may refer to our Horticultural Tips sections on Crocus, Hyacinths, Special Miscellaneous Bulbs and Narcissi.
Herbacecous Peonies, one of life's greatest joys, should be reserved for the best spots with direct sunlight with ample breathing space all around. You may refer to our Herbaceous Peony Horticultural Tips section for detailed instructions.
Give special attention to garden and path borders that are perfect spots for more diminutive varieties of flower bulbs. Some of the best candidates are both Species and Large Flowering Crocus, Anemone blanda, Chionodoxa, Galanthus, Ipheion, Rock Garden Iris, Muscari, Ornithogalum balansae and umbellatum and Scilla. You may also want to consider Greigii, Kaufmanniana and Species Tulips, many of which will return for repeat years of flowers if left undisturbed in a good spot with fertilizer feedings three times a year.
Brent and Becky Heath, renown and highly regarded flower bulb colleagues, promote many of the special miscellaneous bulbs as perfect for "shoes and socks" plantings. In a nutshell, this means to plant larger Narcissus or Hyacinths bulbs first, cover them with some soil, and then top with a layer of smaller bulbs, like Anemone blanda, Chionodoxa, Ipheion or Muscari. Narcissi, for example, would then grow above an attractive contrasting ground cover. It is a lovely effect. These smaller bulbs, particularly Muscari, are also perfect for thick border ribbons. It is fun to make signature mixtures too, like a blend of Muscari and Anemone blanda, as a special border planting.
Asiatic, Chinese Trumpet, Heirloom Species, Orienpet and Oriental Lilies are stunning additions to perennial beds for opulent summer blooms. Some of the taller varieties, like Chinese Trumpets and Orienpets, are perfect for back-of-the-bed height and natural architecture. The fragrance of Chinese Trumpets, Orienpets and Oriental Lilies is an alluring addiction, making these beauties winning candidates around summer terraces and porches, or under bedroom windows where their intoxicating fragrance can make for many sweet dreams. You may refer to our section on Fragrant Flower Bulbs .