Tag Archives: spring bulbs

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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Foliage for your Spring Floozies


From the Gold Medal winning garden by West Seattle Nursery - Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2015

From the Gold Medal winning garden by West Seattle Nursery – Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2015

Gardeners are easily seduced. We understand – sometimes that flirty petal just calls to you but if you don’t give it the right foliage partner it will be a fizzled floozy in no time.

Spring bulbs and pansies leap onto our shopping carts at this time of year don’t they? While you’re at the nursery be sure to select some foliage beauties to create the necessary framework to make them shine and fill the beauty gap when the blooms are less than bountiful.

Here are a few of our favorite foliage+floozy options to try.


IMG_8686Who can resist the cute pansy faces? Whiskers, bold colors, frills – these are the flowers of our childhood.

Choose accompanying foliage plants to echo the colors. I have found that the fine strappy blades of grasses offer great contrast to the chubby faces as can be seen above where the golden variegated Japanese sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’) accents the golden moment.

IMG_0514Or look for something more subtle. Here variegated box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty’) repeats the yellow eye in the blue and purple pansy.

In either case there is a visual color connection between the flower and foliage.

JH pansyThis simple combination has  color repetition between the yellow of the pansy and Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’) but the most striking theme is the connection of fine pansy ‘whiskers’ and the strongly vertical lines of the common rush; a green grass-like foliage plant  (Juncus).



Big, bold and beautiful – marry these extravagant blooms with equally sassy foliage. Princess Irene tulip is planted here with the similarly colored Peach Flambe heuchera while the chartreuse conifer Goldcrest Monterey cypress adds contrast.

IMG_0909Or go for moody drama with rich purple tulips against black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’). Emerald green ferns and Rainbow leucothoe (Leucothoe f. ‘Rainbow’) add lighter notes, the variegated shrub even hinting at burgundy-purple tints.

Floozy Frenzy!

IMG_2006Hellebore, hyacinth, candytuft – yes there’s a lot of floral action going on but it’s all held together with foliage. Silver Queen euonymus establishes the soft color scheme and adds strength to the combination of looser structures. The large purple foliage of Spellbound heuchera adds drama while a simple cotoneaster groundcover trails over the edge of the stone urn. All the foliage plants are evergreen, allowing the flowers to come and go without compromising the design.

Remember flowers are fleeting so enjoy their ephemeral beauty and seduction – but be sure to have great foliage tucked in alongside them for real drama that lasts.


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