Pretty Tiarella Spring Symphony Foamflower with Bulbs

Tiarella tulip and Muscari collage
Tiarella tulip and Muscari collage

This Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ (foamflower), Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’,  and Muscari ‘Blue ‘Spike’ (grape hyacinth) combination is the showiest in my garden right now at the beginning of June. I’m really enjoying the multitude of blooms with appealing flower colours and shapes in the shaded area under a pine tree.

Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' white and light pink flowers
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ white and light pink flowers

The perennial Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ is a great spring bloomer in the  shade garden. The frothy spikes have pink buds that open to white flowers, giving an overall light pink appearance to them. You can see how the top of each spike still has tight pink buds that have yet to open, while the bottom has the soft, fuzzy, white stars. I added this group of Tiarella last summer mainly for the nice looking foliage, and knew that it would have pretty white flowers in spring, but I didn’t forsee them flowering so beautifully with the tulips that they are snuggled up with. Happily, ‘Spring Symphony’ makes a fabulous flower combination with the bulbs this spring, fitting right in with the pink and white colours of the tulips.

Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' foam flower with tulip 'Foxtrot' behind
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ foamflower with tulip ‘Foxtrot’ behind

Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ flowers start as dark pink buds. They then form frothy light flower spikes, living up to their foamflower name. In this picture you can see how the pink and white of Spring Symphony colour coordinate so well with the pink and white of Foxtrot, while having a contrasting flower shape. Both of them are beautifully set off by the purplish blue of the Muscari.

Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' Tulipa 'Foxtrot' Muscari 'Blue Spike' under pine tree
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ under pine tree

You can see the trunk of the pine tree that this garden bed is located underneath at the back of the picture above. It is less dense than my pine in front, so there are periods of dappled light and some direct light, even though the bed is also on the north side of a fence. There are small amounts of pine needles and a few cones scattered in the bed that I mostly just leave as a mulch.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' and foxtrot tulips
Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ and foxtrot tulips

The Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’, a double flowering tulip, and Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ have been flowering together in my spring garden for a few years now. When I planted the Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’  last summer, I wasn’t even thinking of it pairing with the spring bulbs. I planted the foamflower next to some other Tiarella and Heuchera, more for the pretty leaf combinations with the perennials, since the spring bulbs had already gone to sleep. I was delighted as the Tiarella started opening its buds at the end of May, because the light pink flowers make a good flower trio with the blue  Muscari and double pink and white tulips. In the photo above, you can see the one obligatory off-colour tulip that is purple, and totally oblivious to the fact that it is growing in a sea of 50 pink tulips. However, I don’t have the heart to remove it, as it is only singing a little off key, and does it with as much enthusiasm as the rest of the choir.

Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' light flower spikes
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ light flower spikes

Here is a closeup of ‘Spring Sympony’, showing the spikes half open. The Tiarella leaves are very fresh looking, with a small dark patch in the centre of each lobe. Even when not in flower, the plants are attractive. Each plant is about 15 cm (6 in) tall and 30 cm (1 ft) across, while the slower spikes are around 30 cm (12 in) tall. There are some Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley scattered through  here, as you can see at the back of picture above. I’ve added many different foamflowers to my garden over the last few years, since they grow so well in the shade. In this previous post, you can read more about two of my favourite Tiarella.

Tulipa foxtrot closeup of pretty pink flowers
Tulipa foxtrot closeup of pretty pink flowers

This picture shows the beauty of the double flowering pink Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’. The extra petals make them stand out in the garden. These have held up well over three years, considering that this garden bed is on the north side of a fence and underneath a pine tree. It gets bits of light through the day, but not as much as a tulip would normally prefer.

Tulipa foxtrot a pink double early tulip
Tulipa foxtrot a pink double early tulip

Quite a few of the original tulip bulb planting are still going strong. I probably caused the loss of some of them when I disturbed them while planting more Tiarella and Heuchera here last summer, after the tulips had faded back. That’s one of the hazards of mixing spring bulbs amongst your  perennials, but the extended flowering season and greater variety of appealing combinations are well worth it.

pink double early Tulipa 'Foxtrot'
pink double early Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’

The Foxtrot tulips first open almost all white, and then get more pink over the next weeks of flowering. Above you can see the double tulips earlier on, when they were first getting some pink tinges. They have a beautifully soft look, especially when the sun shines through their petals. The flowers are more relaxed and open when the sunlight hits.

Tiarella tulips and Muscari
Tiarella tulips and Muscari

These four Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ have been open for a while, and are developing a much darker pink shade, with just small streaks of white. This darker pink pairs well with the darker saturated colour of the Muscari bulbs.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' bulb closeup
Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ bulb closeup

These ‘Blue Spike’ Muscari are my favourite grape hyacinths. The spikes are so thick, that they make a much showier group than any of my other Muscari. Since they have so much more substance than other grape hyacinths, they can stand up well to the tulips. There are double the number of grape hyacinths as tulips, because they are smaller, and the group sizes balance well.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' grape hyacinth bulbs
Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ grape hyacinth bulbs

Look how many small petals ‘Blue Spike’ packs onto each stem. It would be difficult to squeeze any more blue onto those stems. The flowers on these are 3 to 5 times larger than my other Muscari, and the only type of grape hyacinth I have planted since I first saw how much better they look in the garden. The smaller the bulb, the more of them you need to show up in the garden. If you just have a few little dots of blue, they tend to fade into the background and get lost.

Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' bulb group
Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ bulb group

A large group of grape hyacinth bulbs are easily visible from across the garden, forming a beautiful lake of blue. ‘The Blue Spike’ do very well in this part shade to medium shade location. I’ve planted some Muscari with just Tiarella too.

Tulipa 'Foxtrot' Muscari 'Blue Spike' Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' with Heuchera and Campanula
Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ with Heuchera and Campanula

When the bulbs fade, the various Campanula (bellflowers) in front will take over, flowering in blue and white. You can see them mixed with the grape hyacinths. The Campanula plants will expand, and help to hide the Muscari foliage as it withers away. There are also some Heuchera ‘Day Glow Pink’ with pink flowers, and Geranium ‘Rozanne’ with long lasting blue flowers to continue a similar colour scheme. A Heuchera plant with purple foliage is just visible at the back right of the above photo.

Lamprocampnos spectabilis (dicentra) bleeding heart flowers by tulips
Lamprocampnos spectabilis (dicentra) bleeding heart flowers by tulips

Behind this group are some Lamprocampus spectabilis (used to be Dicentra, bleeding hearts).  These ones have just started to open from the base of the stem. Soon there will be a garland of white lanterns along the stems. The bleeding hearts are such easy shade plants to tuck in behind other shorter perennials, while giving some height. At the very back of the bed are two Hydrangea shrubs that will flower in late summer, one in white, and the other in pink and white.

Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' Tulipa 'Foxtrot' and Muscari 'Blue Spike' in spring
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’ and Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ in spring

This area is my favourite in the garden right now. The Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’, along with the tulip and Muscari bulbs can all be seen from my kitchen and family room windows, and give a shot of pretty spring colour to this shady corner under the pine tree.  The foamflower was the perfect addition to this bright and cheery section of the garden. You can read more about Spring Symphony and 6 other Tiarella I grow.

13 thoughts on “Pretty Tiarella Spring Symphony Foamflower with Bulbs”

    1. Rebecca, I particularly like the foamflower here. I’ve been slipping Tiarella into lots of the garden beds, because the flowers are so pretty, and the plants look good all season.

  1. What a nice combination! Your spring flowers are a refreshing sight. Tulips don’t do well here, but I have successfully grown muscari and tiarella. I really like your ‘Blue Spike’ muscari. They are a great improvement over the common form in my own garden.

    1. Debsgarden, I have three other types of Muscari and Blue Spike are my favourite, because with their flower size they have more impact in the garden.

  2. Have just had a fascinating read of your blog, thanks for stopping by and leaving a message. Your colour combinations are beautiful, I haven’t had much luck with tulips in the shade, your look wonderful, maybe I should try again.

    1. Pauline, I thought that these tulips would fade out quicker than they have. They do get some direct sun, and some filtered light, but I think that my planting more perennials here last summer damaged more of them than the part shade conditions.

  3. I’m sorry I’ve been away from your blog for so long. And yet you’ve been so kind to visit mine. Thank you.

    What a treat to visit and see this outstanding trio of bloomers. I love how you added the Tiarella not realizing it would bloom at the same time as the tulips and muscari. Very nice!!

    1. Grace, I have some other Tiarella and roughly expected them to bloom in spring, and they do use truth in advertising with the ‘Spring Symphony’ name, but by summer planting I was picturing them with the other perennials instead of the lovely spring bulb combination.

      Monika, I like the pink, blue and white flowers together, and have some perennials with the same colours for later in the season.

      Liz, it is more part shade here than full shade, but I half expected the tulip bulbs to fade out faster. I started with 50 bulbs, and in their third spring there are about 40 still blooming. I decreased a few accidentally last summer when I was digging around and added the Tiarella. Overall, I’m pleased that they have kept up the flowers after 3 springs.

      Sigrun, my growing conditions in Edmonton are closer to gardening in Norway than in Germany. The blooming times get compressed into a shorter season, but I try to plant lots of very early bulbs and perennials to get as early of a start as possible.

  4. Hi,

    I’m surprised your Tulips are flowering in a shady spot! Do they survive into their second year well? I ask because I thought they needed to be baked in the summer to keep them happy. I haven’t really used Tulips much and this was my first year planting them in the ground and they performed poorly – mainly due to a lot of rain and cool weather in April and early May just as they were due to bloom.

  5. Hi, your plant combinations are good! You are late, you have spring. O.k., you are not in Europe! I wish you a wonderful spring!


  6. Ive recently tried two plants that I have fallen in love with in my zone 3 northern Wisconsin garden. Golden hearts, a gold leaf bleeding heart and color flash lime astilbe…awesome! The gold hearts I have in with mixed hostas and the color flash really brighten up shady areas. Happy gardening!

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