The Bulb Design Notes Project

What do garden designers consider when creating combinations of spring-blooming flower bulbs, perennials and flowering trees and shrubs? Beyond the basics, what criteria do they weigh to take a combo to a higher plane of beauty? How do they balance short-term delight with long-term efficiency? How do designers script their plant partnerships so that they’ll unfold sequentially, week after week, as winter morphs into spring and spring into summer? How do they accommodate bulb foliage dieback where naturalizing is a goal? How do they deal with foraging animals?

The bulb experts at Colorblends thought it would be interesting to explore how some accomplished garden design professionals approach these questions.

“We reached out to several designers whose work we admire and asked if they’d share the thinking behind some of their successful spring bulb and perennial combinations. Their generous responses are presented here,” says Tim Schipper of Colorblends, a national flower bulb resource.

The Bulb Design Notes Project explores the practical choices that go into creating plant partnerships that:

  • deliver high performance in spring,
  • then transition gracefully into early summer.

As part of the informal project, each designer chose photos of spring bulb and perennial combinations they’d designed or found inspiring and provided design notes on each. Their photos and observations are assembled into personal notes pages. Combined, the pages present 37 garden scenarios. All scenes are annotated with plant IDs, location, hardiness zone and design notes. Click on an image to visit a captioned gallery of that designer’s images and view a slideshow of the images.

The resulting mix of spring garden types, design goals and practical solutions offers plenty to think about for gardeners of all stripes and locales.

The project features:

Colorblends is a Connecticut-based flower bulb wholesaler that sells direct to landscape professionals and home gardeners nationwide, with a minimum order of $60. For spring bulb blends and more, visit or call 1-888-847-8637.

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