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For annual, perennialised and naturalised plantings

 

Flower bulbs can be used in many different ways depending on the ultimate objective:

- For annual plantings: this is usually the case when flower bulbs are used for a massive colour display. Good examples are flowerbeds planted with crocuses and tulips that flower successively, a sea of grape hyacinths, or long ribbon plantings of large-cupped daffodils. Flower bulbs with bright colours such as red, yellow and blue are particularly suited for this purpose.

- For perennialised flowering, spring-flowering bulbs are allowed to remain undisturbed in the ground after they have finished flowering. This gives their foliage the time to wither back and provide the bulbs with nutrients to prepare them for the next growing season. Spring-flowering bulbs used this way are actually following the same cycle as perennial plants. Usually, spring-flowering bulbs planted for this purpose are included in an existing border consisting of perennials, shrubs or roses. Spring-flowering bulbs that can be used for multiple-year flowering include certain daffodil, tulip and hyacinth cultivars and a group of specialty bulbs. In this situation, it is essential to coordinate not only the colours of the flower bulbs among themselves but also the colours of the flower bulbs with the surrounding perennial plants.

- For naturalised plantings: bulbs suitable for naturalising have just a little more to offer than the ones for multiple-year flowering. Like them, bulbs for naturalising also remain undisturbed after flowering and will come back again every year, but their added benefit is that their numbers will continue to increase as long as they have been planted under ideal conditions (light and air). Naturalised bulbs can function as independent plantings – snowdrops and crocuses in lawns and grass-covered verges – but they can also be included in existing plantings such as in planting beds with groundcover plants beneath trees and shrubs. In these more natural-looking situations, glaring colours would be out of place; better here would be the more muted tones of pastel yellows, light blues and white. Narcissi, scillas and leucojums are examples of bulbs that will naturalise and look just right here.