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Bulbs and friends.

Each spring, the gardens at Filoli estate in Woodside, California, shimmer with artfully combined bulbs and bedding plants in brilliant jewel colors. Garnet red tulips nod above sapphire blue violas. Topaz yellow tulips punctuate a wide border of amethyst-colored violas. It's a palette of plants that celebrates the season and invites lingering looks. The show begins in early February and continues in waves of color into late April. For maximum color punch, bulbs and bedding plants bloom simultaneously; bedding plants carry on the show.

Now is the time to plan and plant your own spring bulb show. Or you can enjoy the show at Filoli next spring (garden superintendent Lucy Tolmach, who designed the plantings on these pages, plants bulbs and bedding plants in successive groupings from October through mid-November).

SECRET OF SUCCESS? CHOOSE PLANTS WELL

Tolmach prefers bedding plants in monochromatic schemes. She enjoys bold color contrasts, such as bright yellow tulips with deep violet violas, and subtle pastels, like frosty pink tulips with white forget-me-nots.

She takes her design cue from the bloom time of permanent plants that grow near the planting beds, choosing a palette of pinks to complement a lavender-blue wisteria, as shown top left on the facing page, for example, or of blues and yellows to echo a bright yellow Sunburst' honey locust.

"Pay attention to the plants' heights when teaming them," Tolmach advises. Columbine, for example, reaches 15 to 18 inches tall and looks best with a tall tulip such as |Sweet Harmony'. Also take the site's exposure (sun or shade) into account.

For more ideas, see chart at right.

MAKE A PLAN, AMEND THE SOIL

Before planting, Tolmach draws a rough plan on graph paper. Beds are amended with compost, then controlled-release high-nitrogen fertilizer is added.

Bulbs are planted at a depth recommended in a grower's guide (gardeners mark planting spots in soil with a rake handle first). Unless planted in clumps for a particular effect, tulips and hyacinths are spaced 6 to 10 inches apart and large daffodils 12 inches apart, with bedding plants set 8 to 12 inches apart between them. (Gardeners use bedding plants from jumbo packs rather than small seedlings, which will not make enough growth to flower with early bulbs.)

Plants are watered at planting time and regularly--when rains are infrequent--through flowering. Starting a month after planting, they get a monthly supplemental feeding with a granular fertilizer.

TO VISIT FILOLI IN SPRING

Starting in mid-February, docent-led garden tours ($8 per person) are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. For reservations, call (415) 364-2880, or write to Friends of Filoli Center, Canada Rd., Woodside 94062.

FILOLI FAVORITES: BULB, BEDDING PLANT COMPANIONS
February-March March-April
Daffodils Ranunculus
'Golden Harvest' (yellow) Apricot Shades' with blue
or |Pink Charm' (pink), Chinese forget-me-not
with white wall rockcress (Cynoglossum amabile)
(Arabis caucasica) Tulips
'Golden Harvest' or Mount 'Maureen' (white) with
Hood' (white) with English 'Blue Bunting' columbine
primrose (Primula polyantha) (Aquilegia)
 'Mrs. John T. Scheepers'
'Romaine' (creamy white) with 'Blue Bunting' columbine
'Mount Hood' under-planted or Siberian wallflower
with blue grape (Erysimum hieraciifolium)
hyacinth (Muscari) 'Pink Diamond' with 'Carmine
Dutch hyacinths King' (pink) forget-me-not
'Bismarck' (white or blue) (Myosotis) or White
with white wall rockcress Perfection' viola
Tulips 'Sweet Harmony' (bright
'Mrs. John T. Scheepers' yellow) with' Blue Bunting'
(yellow) with poppy-flowered columbine
'Blue Poppy' White Triumphator' with
anemone (A. coronaria) 'Blue Perfection' viola
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Filoli estate gardens in Woodside, California
Author:Lincowski, Emely
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Words:559
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