Garden designers are often asked to create “all year round interest” planting design for clients, encouraged possibly by magazine articles and TV gardening shows. This normally translates to bland schemes where one plant flowers successively after another through the year and so only 10% of garden is looking it’s best at any one time. Better results can be achieved through planting for peaks of interest during the season, explaining to the client that the garden will evolve through stages from spring to winter.
The first ‘peak’ I normally design into a scheme are spring bulbs, which can be planted in Autumn around perennial plants that will be cut back near the ground just when the bulbs are doing their stuff. Planting this way we lose no border space, but add colour and form before the perennials have barely even sprouted new growth.
Tulips, as in my front garden shown above, give a great show at this time of year, but I don’t assume they will reappear every year as reliably as Narcissus, say. I therefore top them up each October with fresh bulbs and if the winter has been as dry and mild as this year then I get the new Tulips, plus many more from previous years. Bonus!