Here is a pretty bulb combination of tulips and Muscari (grape hyacinths) that I’m planting to bloom in the spring garden. They should flower at the same time in pink and blue, both with the extra petals of doubles.
The double early blooming pink Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ are planted at the back. Aren’t those tulips pretty? They remind me of my favourite peony, ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. These have a multitude of light pink petals, like the double peony. They are short, about 30 cm tall (1 ft). I fell for these ‘Foxtrot’ tulips when I saw the picture on the label, even though I didn’t originally plan to plant any tulips. I saw the double pink photo and instantly imagined a large group of them, highlighted with a large group of smaller blue bulbs in front.
The above photo of Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ is from my garden last June. ‘Blue Spike’ became my favourite grape hyacinth last spring, when a newer group of them bloomed for an extended period. They bloomed for almost a month, which is a long time for the little blue bulbs. They also have large flowers for such a small bulb. Their extra petals, with very open flowers, creating a dense spike of intense blue. Here is a post from earlier in the year about the Muscari.
The Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ grow about 15 cm (6 in). When planted in front of the 30 cm (12 in) pink tulips, the difference in their heights should be just right to show off each type of bloom. I’m hoping the tips of the Muscari will be just under the bottom of the tulip flowers.
For the grape hyacinths, I dig hole about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) deep, and about 30 cm (1 ft) across, between some later growing perennials. Then I put the bulbs with their pointy side up, about 5 cm (2 in) apart, and cover them back up. I leave a bit of loose soil in the bottom of the hole, so I can balance the bulbs upright with a bit of support, and then they don’t get knocked over when I pour the soil back back over top. Digging a series of large holes for groups of bulbs is the most efficient way when you have a number of them to plant.
Here are the ‘Foxtrot’ tulips in their planting hole. It’s about13 cm (5 in) deep, and they are about 13 cm (5 in) apart. I make a number of these holes in the garden bed, between the perennials that will hide their foliage after they bloom.
Here is a composite of what the ‘Foxtrot’ and ‘Blue Spike’ should look like together. I think these two bulbs will bloom at the same time next spring with the taller pink tulips rising up behind the shorter blue Muscari. I could have planted a few first to test the bloom time, but instead I decided to jump in with planting 54 tulips and 180 more Muscari bulbs. I need a larger number of the Muscari, since they are smaller bulbs, and planted closer together. About 3 times as many grape hyacinths should balance out the tulip planting. If they don’t manage to bloom in tandem, they will still make a nice sequence, but I’m hoping for an overlap.
Here’s how the tulips and Muscari look in the spring. The flowers of these double early tulips did bloom at the same time as the Muscari, making a beautiful display. You can see more detailed photos of the ‘Foxtrot’ tulips in this post.
Have you been planting any bulbs for spring blooms?