The Bulb Design Notes Project: Alliums and Double Tulips

The Bulb Design Notes Project features work by Janie McCabe of M.J. McCabe Garden Design. 

Combo: Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ with double late Tulips ‘Angelique’, ‘Mount Tacoma’ and ‘Blue Spectacle’. Also: boxwood, phlox, delphiniums and peonies (including Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and P. ‘Festiva Maxima’).

Location: Old Saybrook, Connecticut, USDA Zone 6b

Notes: The alliums here are dramatic and reliable. In this setting, I like Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, which are inexpensive, so you can plant lots and play with them. ‘Purple Sensation’ is a particularly rich purple color and gives you the vertical interest and vitality of alliums, but with an umbel that’s more reserved in scale, just 4-inches across. By the time the allium foliage here begins to look shabby, the perennials are big enough to hide it.

Typically, the alliums come back to rebloom for three or more years. Often, they’ll multiply, too. If I plant 100 bulbs, it’s not unusual to end up with 130. Every few years, l plant more.

Nearby is a compact hedge of strongly-scented Calamintha nepeta alba (white catmint) that serves as a buffer to discourage rabbits.


The bulb experts at Colorblends thought it would be interesting to explore how some accomplished garden design professionals approach their projects. “We reached out to several designers whose work we admire and asked if they’d share the thinking behind some of their successful spring bulb and perennial combinations. Their generous responses are presented in The Bulb Design Notes Project,” says Tim Schipper of Colorblends, a national flower bulb resource. Click here to read more.

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