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South Central Gardening: Tulips for Spring Color

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

For a splash of spring color you won't regret, plant loads of tulip bulbs this fall.

 Tulips make a splash in a front yard.
 Pansies and phlox augment tulips' color.

Years ago, before I started gardening, I would walk through my neighborhood drooling and fantasizing over a particular neighbor's landscape. She had a phenomenally beautiful spring show. Creeping phlox, hyacinths, pansies ... all in full, glorious bloom.

But it was her tulips, her incredible clumps of glorious tulips that made me swoon. Hundreds of them, planted very closely together. So close and so numerous, they almost looked like a bush of tulips.

 Tulips' multiple colors sing in spring.

Now I do the same. I plant at least 600 tulips every year in my front beds alone. I treat them like annuals, composting them when they are spent.

  Thanksgiving season is planting time for tulip bulbs.

The trick to planting tulips in such numbers is to dig several large holes, with as many as 25 - 50 bulbs in each, depending on the space. I place them about one to two inches apart, mixing in some bulb food at planting time. In our part of the country this is usually around Thanksgiving.

I prefer late-blooming varieties for our zone, in soft sorbet colors. Menton, Maureen, Dordogne, Pink Impression and Godushnik are some of my favorites. Their light colors contrast lovingly with the dark brick exterior of my home.

  Yellow and red tulips make a vibrant combination.

If primary hues are more to your liking, try yellow and red varieties together. It's a great, vibrant combination for color in your landscape. Or let Lowe's do the color selection for you. You can buy packaged blends in various colors and with differing bloom times, often with other types of bulbs in the mix.

If you've never grown tulips, plant some this fall. Make this the year you create your own spring garden fantasy!