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It's hard to believe that 60 years ago the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland, was a hunting preserve. Today, it hosts a spring show of millions of flower bulbs in a wide array of beds and borders. This amazing public garden is a treasure trove of great gardening ideas.
Test Garden Tip: To visit, plan early. The Keukenhof is open from March to May each year.
When you visit the Keukenhof, you also get a sneak peak of new plant varieties. For example the 'Henry Hudson' tulip was introduced to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the English captain Henry Hudson sailing his Dutch vessel into New York harbor and landing on Manhattan Island. It's a bright orange species tulip, similar to the bulbs that were popular in the Netherlands when Henry Hudson arrived in America.
Only growing 8 inches tall, 'Henry Hudson' tulip makes a great container plant. It has crimped, blue-green leaves and bright yellow stamens. It looks stunning in this blue ceramic planter.
When you visit Keukenhof, you can't miss the gigantic beech trees that line the paths and roadways. Underneath each tree, you'll discover gorgeous flowerbeds. Here, 'Tete-a-Tete' daffodil, blue muscari, and red tulip 'Mad Lefeber' provide a carpet of color.
Test Garden Tip: For best effect, plant bulbs in large groups or drifts.
At Keukenhof, garden design ideas pop up at every corner. Along this pathway, a trio of classic bulb varieties creates a memorable combination. It includes yellow 'Monte Carlo' tulip, red 'Fusilier' tulip, and 'Geranium' narcissus.
Test Garden Tip: Brightly colored varieties often look their best when planted near a white-flowering bulb.
Masses of double pink tulips, blue muscari, and orange tulips prove that a bulb garden doesn't need a lot of variety to make a big impression. Get the same effect in your garden. Just plant a dozen or two of each type next to each other.
Keep fragrance in mind when you plan your garden. Bulbs such as hyacinths are richly fragrant and will quickly perfume your entire yard. In this bed, the delightfully scented 'Pink Perfection' hyacinth teams with blue muscari and 'Grand Style' tulip.
Test Garden Tip: Hyacinths aren't the only fragrant bulbs. Many tulips and narcissus are also scented.
Always leave space at the back of your border for tall plants. Growing up to 4 feet tall, variegated crown imperial fritillaria, makes an impressive backdrop.
Test Garden Tip: The bulbs of crown imperial fritillaria have a strong skunky odor. Some people believe they repel moles.
Brighten a spring garden by planting bulbs among perennials. The bulbs will lead off the flower show, giving perennials time to mature and take over as the bulbs fade. At Keukenhof we found this lovely pairing of lamb's ears and red tulips.
At Keukenhof we found this amazing display of galvanized containers filled to the brim with different varieties of muscari and pansies. By working with just one main species of bulb, you can be sure that all of them will bloom at the same time. This is a great way to decorate a wall, patio, or porch.
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