Flower Bulb Trends: What to Plant Now for Spring 2020
Gardening trends are not as volatile as fashion trends. But preferences do change. At Longfield Gardens, we do our best to stay in tune with evolutions in color and style.
One of the ways we track gardening trends is through social media. Images posted by flower farmers, floral designers, landscape designers and home gardeners give us a real-time window into the varieties flower lovers are most excited about.
So what did we see on Instagram last spring? Flowers that caught our eye included double daffodils, maroon tulips, peach and ivory hyacinths, and unusual alliums. Here are some of our favorites.
Double Tulips Grab the Limelight
Black Hero Tulips
Clive Nichols is one of Britain’s best garden photographers. In this photo, he did an amazing job of capturing Black Hero‘s peony-like fullness and deep maroon color. Not easy to do! Like other double late tulips, Black Hero has big flowers on long stems, and is very long-lasting. They are impressive flowers in both gardens and vases.
La Belle Epoch Tulips
The darling of the dahlia world is Cafe au Lait. In the tulip world, La Belle Epoch has the same sort of cult following. Holland’s tulip farmers simply can’t keep up with the demand. If you want to grow this heartthrob, reserve your bulbs as soon as our online store opens in mid-summer.
This photo is from Becky Crowley’s Instagram account. She oversees the cutting garden at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England.
Striped Tulips Make a Comeback
Striped tulips are ever-present in 17th century still life paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Yet strangely, these striking flowers are rarely planted today. I began growing them in my cutting garden several years ago and heartily recommend the Rembrandt Tulip Mix.
In addition to producing a large main flower, the bulbs often produce side stems with slightly smaller flowers. These extend the bloom time and they are ideal for smaller bouquets.
Check out these beautiful Rembrandt tulips on Claus Dalby’s Instagram account. Claus is a gardener, floral designer, prolific author and international trendsetter. Follow this trendsetter for a wealth of floral inspiration.
Carnival de Nice Tulips
Here is another vote for striped tulips. This one comes from British gardener and floral designer Charlie McCormick. Tulip Carnival de Nice was introduced in 1953 and holds an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. These fanciful, late-blooming double tulips have tons of personality and look like they have stepped right out of an Old Masters painting.
Charlie McCormick’s Instagram account is filled with images of flowers, vegetables, bucolic rural landscapes and corgis. He has almost 100K Instagram followers.
A Must-Have Double Daffodil
Delnashaugh is a fragrant double daffodil with enormous flowers, thick, creamy white petals and frilly peach accents. This variety blooms relatively late in daffodil season and it makes a terrific cut flower. Floral designer Alicia Swede of FlirtyFleurs.com has become a big fan of Delnashaugh. She features it in three of the seven Flirty Fleurs Spring Bulb Collections that she designed for us. Also shown above are Aiolos hyacinths and Mystic Van Eijk tulips.
Unusual Alliums Get New Fans
Here is another under-appreciated spring bulb. I grow allium karataviense in a rock garden and adore its foliage as much as the flowers. The leaves are teal blue with hot pink accents.
This photo of allium karataviense was posted by Charlotte Andersson on her Instagram account @charlottegardenflow. Charlotte is a gardener and garden shop owner on the east coast of Sweden. Her garden is perfectly kept and always stunning. The way she combines plants is original and inspiring. Happily, her Instagram posts are in both English and Swedish.
Just when you think allium season is over, along come the deep maroon flowers of allium atropurpureum. Don’t let their difficult name hold you back. Like most alliums, these fall-planted bulbs are both easy and reliable.
Follow the lead of plantsman and landscape designer Dan Pearson, and weave these bulbs through your perennial beds. Dan’s Instagram account is packed with inspiration from his own garden and the gardens he designs all over the world. If you’re a bit of a plant nerd, you’ll also enjoy reading his online journal at digdelve.com
More Alliums is Always a Good Thing
Mount Everest Alliums
The flowers of most alliums are various shades of purple. Only a handful of them have white flowers, and Mount Everest (Allium stipitatum) is one of the best. Its perfectly round flower heads are about 4” across, on sturdy, 3-foot stems. Mount Everest is especially effective when planted among shrubs and hedges.
The photo above was taken by Nick McCullough, a landscape designer in Columbus, Ohio. Alliums are a signature plant in many of Nick’s designs. We collaborated with him on two allium collections, which are available HERE.
Our shipping season for fall-planted bulbs is September through November. But keep the weather in mind. Bulb planting is much more pleasant when it’s not snowing. That said, it’s OK to plant bulbs any time before the soil freezes. For a map of recommended planting dates by region, click HERE.