Northern Shade Gardening

Blue Muscari and Pink Tulip Flowers

Sunday, May 30, 2010 Category: Bulbs

Here is a pretty pink and blue bulb combination of Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ (grape hyacinth) and Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ (a double pink tulip) for mid spring. The blooming times coincide in my garden to create an appealing mix.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' and Tulipa 'Fox Trot'

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ and Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ is an extra full grape hyacinth, with double florets along the flower stalk. With all of the open petals, the stalks are very thick and showy. Planted closely, they make a luminous river of blue at the front of the garden bed. The grape hyacinths are 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 in) tall, while the tulips behind are 30 to 35 cm (12 to 14 in) tall.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' closeup

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ closeup

This photo shows a closeup of the grape hyacinth just before the abundant petals have fully opened.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' flower closeup

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ flower closeup

Here is an image of a flower after it has fully opened.  You can see how lavishly the blue petals are packed on the flower stalk, making the grape hyacinth look  like a miniature hyacinth.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' flowers of blue

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ flowers of blue

The photo above shows the intense blue colour of a group of the Muscari bulbs. This is my favourite bed right now. Just around the corner of the bed is a group of Brunnera (Siberian bugloss) with blue flowers too, and in the other direction are the blue Pulmonaria (lungwort) flowers.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' group

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ group

The ribbon of Muscari bulbs winds through some Campanula (bellflowers) in the picture above. When these brilliantly coloured bulbs die back for the summer, the Campanula here will replace them with their own blue flowers. Muscari look great with perennial Tiarella, too

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' with Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' behind

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ with Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ behind

Beside the Muscari are some Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’, a double pink tulip with extra petals that make them extra showy.

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' first opening

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ first opening

The ‘Foxtrot’ bulbs first open in a white colour, with curled and overlapping petals.

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' after opening

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ after opening

Here is part of the group of tulips, just after they opened, still showing white petals.

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' pink flower

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ pink flower

Soon the ‘Foxtrot’ flowers develop their pink colouration. You can see the overall pale pink colour, with medium pink edges to the petals.

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' pink flower closup

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ pink flower closup

Here a ‘Foxtrot’ tulip bulb is opening up more, showing the graduations in pink shades, and developing a rose pink colour.

Tulipa 'Fox Trot' pink flowers detail

Tulipa ‘Fox Trot’ pink flowers detail

This group of four shows the colour range they can have, from mostly white when new, to the stronger pink colouration as the flowers develop.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' with Tulipa behind

Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ with Tulipa behind

I had trouble getting the overall photos to show the pink colour of  ‘Foxtrot’ next to the vibrant ‘Blue Spike’, since at a distance the camera (or photographer) seems to capture the tulips as more pale than they are in person. There are over 50 of the tulip bulbs, but as sometimes happens with bulbs, a purple one sneaked into the package. There is also a bright red one with an orange edge. They are not well camouflaged in this pink and blue colour scheme, but I haven’t had the heart to remove the imposters yet.

When I planted the tulips and grape hyacinths last Fall, I wasn’t sure if they would bloom at the  same time, especially because bulbs can have such short flowering times,  so I’m happy to see that the bloom period overlaps closely. The Muscari started a few days before the tulips, and I think they might still bloom after the tulips are finished. Despite the snow we had over the last two days, the bulbs are still flowering upright. Both are sturdy bulbs, as well as being pretty. You can see more details of the pink Foxtrot tulips in this follow up post.

Do you have any favourite bulbs combinations?

22 Responses to “Blue Muscari and Pink Tulip Flowers” »

  1. Shady Gardener :
    May 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I really like your ‘Foxtrot’ tulips, and they’re perfect with the muscari. :-) Are things moving along quickly for you this Spring, also? It’s fun to see what you’re “up to” Up There. :-)

  2. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Shady Gardener, I like the blue and pink flowers together, too. Everything started flowering early this year, because of the warm early spring. However, the recent cold temperatures are slowing bloom times down, and we’ll probably end up back to normal. This morning I was shaking wet snow off of the drooping lilac flowers and peony.

  3. Laura :
    May 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Very pretty combination!

  4. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Laura, I like the pink and blue combination for spring. There’s lots of white and blue in the garden right now to go with it.

    Sweet Bay, when I planted them in large numbers last Autumn, I was really hoping they would bloom in tandem.

  5. Sweet Bay :
    May 30, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    How nice those bloom at the same time in your garden. They do make a lovely combination.

  6. Kathleen :
    May 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ is really amazing NS. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Describing the abundance of petals as “lavish” is a wonderfully apt description. Love it.
    I’ve been enjoying Spanish bluebells and Camassia together this spring. Totally unplanned (unlike your thoughtful combination) but nice.
    What is this about snow?? Seriously? I would be so depressed. I hope it goes away fast ~ it’s gardening season!

  7. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Kathleen, ‘Blue Spike’ is my favourite Muscari, because it is so noticeable in the garden when it flowers. We don’t usually get the white stuff so late in May, but it’s supposed to warm up this week, so I should be able to continue planting soon.

    Diane, I like Muscari, because they contribute blue flowers after the earliest spring bulbs are gone. I have some Muscari azureum, which are a pretty light blue, but the flowers are not nearly as large. I will have to check out Firespray for shade.

  8. Diane :
    May 31, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Your spring flowers are stunners. Muscari is a favourite of mine. Your ‘Foxtrot’ doubles are gorgeous with them.

    It’s always a trick to get bulbs to bloom together isn’t it! I had some ‘Firespray’ tulips (for shade) and daffodils (that I just happened to plant in the shade) bloom together this spring. Just a lucky coincidence for me. My other good combination is the muscari and ‘Apricot Beauty’ tulips (but they are in a sunny area.)

    Cheers from Ontario.

  9. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    May 31, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Great post Northern! Both your tulips & muscari are beautiful. The double muscari are very interesting, I’ve never seen anything like them. It’s wonderful that the bloom times overlap, mine are as well. I was disappointed that my tulips were so late, when some around town were much earlier, but it’s actually worked out quite well. Perhaps the imposters can be moved to a more suitable location? Foxtrot is a beautiful tulip. :)

  10. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Rebecca, the Muscari make a thick sheet of blue that curve around the south side of a tree. When I see these bulbs in bloom, I make a mental note to plant more next Fall. I haven’t decided where to put a solitary red and orange tulip, or purple one yet. I can never get rid of a perfectly healthy plant that doesn’t quite fit, but sometimes I banish them to the no-man’s land around one side of my house where the raspberries reign.

  11. Joanne :
    May 31, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Yes the grape Hyacinth do look lovely especially in large groups but also with the tulip colours.

  12. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Joanne, I planted a group of these Muscari two Autumns ago, and liked them so much that I planted the larger group last Fall.

    Diane, thanks for the info on Firespray.

  13. Diane :
    May 31, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I got my ‘Firespray’ shade tulips from

  14. The Garden Ms. S :
    May 31, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    What a great combination of colours and form. The river of blue is such a great frame for the tulips. Very pretty!

  15. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, I’d like to edge more beds in the bulb for next year. I have to weave it between other plants, though, to hide the bulb foliage after flowering, and so there isn’t a gap when they are gone.

    Rebecca, it’s too bad that the little brown bulbs are so inscrutable when you plant them in Fall. They don’t give many of their secrets away, until they surprise you in Spring.

  16. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    May 31, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    You can send the purple one to me, I had a serious shortage in my mix. ;)

  17. Marit :
    June 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Beautiful combinations! I have to try the double muscari in my garden. The muscari that I have here blooms too. Our gardens must have quite the same degree of latitude :)

  18. Northern Shade :
    June 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Marit, even though Muscari are usually small bulbs, I can see these quite clearly when looking out my window across the garden.

    I’m at 53º N, and inland. It seems were on the same gardening schedule.

  19. Joy :
    June 2, 2010 at 5:17 am

    That was gorgeous ! I love the ribbons of blue ( I think I have a thing for blue ? LOL) and the timing was perfect, which always makes us wonder when we plant bulbs .. how that will go .. phew ! LOL
    I love those tulips .. they don’t look too tall either .. I prefer the shorter ones since they seem more stable . Winds can whip the poor things around in the Spring.
    Over lapping to continue the blue with the campanula is a fantastic idea .. you can’t have too many of those perky plants !
    Hope you are out of the snow for good now .. that must have been a bit of a shock even though you are in a colder zone .. I don’t know which is worse .. this horrible HEAT forcing plants to mature too quickly or the snow .. too bad we can’t trade .. just for a break ? ;-)

  20. Northern Shade :
    June 2, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Joy, blue flowers add a little serenity to any bed. The ‘Foxtrot’ tulips are shorter and sturdier, and even stood up to the snow. It helps them coordinate better with the shorter bulbs too, so there isn’t such a distance between their blooms.

  21. Derek Yarnell :
    February 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Well done. I am going to mass plant muscari but I have not decided with what yet. Hopefully I can find an orange daffodil or naturalizing tulip.

  22. Northern Shade :
    February 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Derek, ‘Blue Spike’ makes a terrific show when mass planted, since the flowers are larger than other Muscari, so it makes a more solid blue carpet. I’ve been so pleased with it, that last fall, I repeated the ‘Blue Spike’ and ‘Foxtrot’ combination in another garden area.

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