This is part of the view from my kitchen window. Last fall, I wrote enthusiastically about all the bulbs I had planted on this hill, and how much I looked forward to seeing them in the spring. Sadly, the show was underwhelming. For one, I had planted seventy-five run-of-the-mill, purple muscari (grape hyacinths), and with their small size and dark color, they just blended into the landscape rather than pop out and command attention. I also planted too few bulbs; just twenty-five daffodils in addition to the muscari. Finally, I planted most of the bulbs in small clusters of three to five all over the hill, so their impact was small.
So disappointed was I that I did not take even a single picture of this hill last spring!
This fall I set out to remedy the situation with some of what I’ve learned from so many of my fellow bloggers. First, I placed a huge order with a highly recommended bulb company, Scheepers, rather than settle for what I could find at my local big box store. Here are the approximately 550 bulbs of my order! (Not all of them are for the hill currently under discussion!)I thought the cost would be significantly more, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong. In some cases, I spent less per bulb! The quality of the Scheepers bulbs was obvious, too, as soon as I opened the very carefully packed box in which they arrived. Every bulb was firm, healthy looking, and of good size. Some of the King Alfred daffodil bulbs were as large as my husband’s fist, and almost all of them had at least two noses. Just look how lovely they are!
Since I had trouble seeing the plain purple grape hyacinths, I chose a different variety, called Ocean Magic. They are a lighter shade of purplish-blue, and have a white tip, like the crest of a wave. I also chose some yellow, cream, and pale purple crocus varieties for that area, as well as pink Chionodoxa and yellow winter aconite.
Finally, I planted the bulbs in masses, with between twenty and thirty bulbs per group. The biggest thing I’ve learned about garden design is the importance of mass plantings for making an impact.
About 350 bulbs are taking a winter nap in that hillside now. Thanks to higher quality bulbs, better color choices, and my better understanding of good garden design, the spring show promises to be spectacular!