Celebrate Spring Bulbs using a Foliage Picture Frame

It’s been an exciting week in Team Fine Foliage Land – the sun came out!! Yes, we have been gardening in T-shirts, polar fleece peeled off and hung up by 9am. Hallelujah!

That means the next round of spring bulbs are making their debut; daffodils are in full bloom and tulips won’t be far behind.

What about planning some stunning foliage to showcase your favorite spring blooms? Here is one combination we know you’ll want to copy, designed by the uber-talented Daniel Mount.


Design by Daniel Mount (Mount Gardens)

Why it works

This is the perfect balance of contrast and similarity. Two yellow and green variegated plants (yucca and boxwood) clearly share the same color palette yet their differing leaf shape and form adds excitement. Tall Mediterranean spurge in the background tempers the dizzying variegated leaves while adding Dr-Seuss-like flower heads in a bright lime green to wake things up.

Together this foliage trio creates a picture frame for the large, lily-shaped tulips which open scarlet with coral and yellow accents before maturing to salmon pink. They are the perfect height for sandwiching between the yucca and spurge – and that one rogue red flower makes me smile!

Foliage Framework

Variegated boxwood spheres (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’)

Bright Edge yucca (Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’)

Large Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias  ssp. wulfenii)

Finishing Touch

Perestroyka tulip (Tulipa ‘Perestroyka’)

More ideas?

If you’d like to see more of Daniels’ designs be sure to order our latest book Gardening with Foliage First where you will find no less than EIGHT of his amazing combinations. (Seriously this  guy is amazing with color!).

You also find lots more ideas for spring in there too.

What are YOU doing with spring bulbs and foliage this year?

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5 thoughts on “Celebrate Spring Bulbs using a Foliage Picture Frame

  1. Cher

    Love your combinations and beautiful photography. For a future book, please consider doing a semi-tropical theme for all of us living in the south and for use for container plantings for the more northern gardeners. I don’t think that there are any books with semi-typical combinations, just individual plants.

    1. Karen Chapman Post author

      Glad you’re enjoying our books and posts. While we’ll be sure to keep your ideas in mind, both Christina and I want to avoid being too regional in our books as we love marrying unexpected plants together. You’ll find a number of semi-tropical combinations in both our books, however as well as cold-hardy combinations

  2. tonytomeo

    Oh! Yuccas! That is a genus that we should use more of, at least here. I know they do not fit into every style, but they should fit most styles here because of the climate. There are so many others that are not even available (although some are not as adaptable to home gardens).

      1. tonytomeo

        Oh, that is a bad question! I like so many of them, but most of my favorites do not work so well in home gardens. Yucca whipplei (which is now classified as a Hesperoyucca) might be my favorite because it grew wild where I went to school in San Luis Obispo, but I would not recommend it. The foliar spines are too nasty, and once it blooms and dies, the pups come up all over the place! The desert yuccas, like the Joshua tree, do not tolerate watering very well. Some get very big, and have very nasty spines! I think that the common ones available in nurseries are probably the best for home gardening. They have reasonably friendly foliage with nice stripes, as well as impressive bloom. The common cultivars of Yucca filamentosa are very tough. I happen to prefer Yucca arkansana, but it is not readily available. It is impossible to decide on a favorite. Even Yucca gloriosa is an exquisite and tough plant. I saw so many excellent yuccas in New Mexico, and could not help but wonder why they are not more popular here.

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