Tulips are among the most brilliant and most cheerful of spring flowering plants. Fortunately, too, they are among the easiest to work with in the creation of artistic landscape effects. If you buy top grade bulbs and follow a practical plan when you plant them this fall, tulips just can’t disappoint you.
For good landscape effect, tulips should always be massed. If you plant them in clumps in a mixed perennial border or elsewhere, each clump should consist of at least a dozen bulbs. And it’ll be even more effective if it consists of a dozen and a half or two dozen. If you plant them in beds, each color area should be large enough to stand out as an individual entity when viewed from a distance. Depending on the size of the bed and the distance from which it may be viewed, this means that each color area should consist of from a dozen to several dozen bulbs. Never “spot” tulips here and there individually and never string them out in scanty single rows.
Various low to medium height plants can be combined with tulips – either planted in front of them or interspersed with them – to insure a pleasing color combination. Among these are dwarf phlox, forget-me-nots, candytuft, alyssum, aubrieta, arabis, primroses, pansies, dwarf azaleas, and the like. The colors of both the tulip and the companion plant should, of course, be borne in mind when you make your choice, and if in doubt use white-flowered companions.
To provide bloom after the tulips are finished, you can choose from a wide variety of annuals, from summer and fall flowering bulbs like gladiolus and dahlias, or from late flowering herbaceous perennials like hardy asters and chrysanthemums. If you’d like to, you can duplicate the tulip color scheme with the plants that follow them – for instance, red and white zinnias can be planted to follow red and white tulips – or you can change the picture entirely by choosing different colored follow-ups.