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Bulb-perennial combo research in the Cornell Chronicle

Foliage of Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno' provides cover after the bulb foliage fades.

Foliage of Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’ provides cover after the bulb foliage fades.

A Dec. 21 online article in the Cornell Chronicle, Winning partners in bloom: Research pairs spring bulbs with various perennials, features bulb- perennial combination research conducted by Bill Miller and the Department of Horticulture Flower Bulb Research program.

One drawback of spring-flowering bulbs is that some gardeners find their fading foliage unsightly. Miller’s pairings take into account not only how colorful spring bulb flowers can complement emerging perennial foliage, for example, but also how maturing foliage can mask the fading leaves of post-bloom bulbs.

“The idea of pairing bulbs and perennials to achieve multiple goals is so desirable,” says Miller. “We felt it deserved more than an anecdotal approach. We created an objective study to document what works and what doesn’t in a typical spring garden.”

 

Foliage of Geranium 'Mayflower' makes the blooms of Tulipa ‘Ballade’ look as if they are floating in a sea of green. The foliage and purple flowers of the geranium later mask the old tulip leaves.

Foliage of Geranium \’Mayflower\’ makes the blooms of Tulipa ‘Ballade’ look as if they are floating in a sea of green. The foliage and purple flowers of the geranium later mask the old tulip leaves.

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