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Spring Flowering Bulbs with PerennialsTaught by Jacqueline van der Kloet

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We like to toss bulbs and plant them where they land. It gives a wonderful painterly effect

  • Suitable for all levels

  • The history of bulbs

  • How to plant naturalistically, Piet Oudolf style

  • Bulb combinations


Van der Kloet has worked alongside her compatriot, garden designer Piet Oudolf, to incorporate bulbs into New York City’s Battery Park which we feature in Piet Oudolf and Dr Noel Kingsbury’s latest course here at Learning with Experts.

Longevity is a kind of sustainability, and that may be one reason van der Kloet’s designs have caught on. Jacqueline has had commissions around the world, including a ten-acre renovation of beds at Holland’s Keukenhof, one of the largest ­public flower gardens in the world. The projects she’s done in the United States have met with resounding success. Van der Kloet collaborated with Oudolf again in Chicago’s Millennium Park in 2007, followed by a stint at the New York Botanical Garden’s Seasonal Walk, in 2008. TV host and author Martha Stewart unveiled her at her New York, home, which includes 116,000 bulbs, all in shades of blue and distributed by van der Kloet’s signature “sprinkling,” which means handfuls of bulbs are lovingly tossed onto the ground, to be planted where they fall.

Botanically speaking, ‘bulbs’ is a collective name which tubers, corms and rhizomes alongside tulips and narcissi. This course covers how to plant spring flowering bulbs in the naturalistic style used by Van der Kloet and Oudolf: bulbs that are planted in autumn, go through a cold period in winter and start to flower in spring. The first lesson features all kinds of other spring flowering bulbs (except tulips) which can cheer up our gardens, from early to late spring, like snow drops, grape hyacinths and ornamental onions, to name a few.

The Curriculum

  • 1. Narcissi

    -You will learn about the history of narcissi. -Today’s classification of narcissi: shapes, heights, colours, leaves, flowering period. -Narcissi from early to late: favourite ones for borders, rock gardens, meadows, woodland areas. How to mix them with suitable companions. When to order and when to plant: preparation, numbers per m2/how to scatter, plant depth, maintenance after planting. -Miscellaneous: more tips for growing daffodils, fragrant varieties, list of best perennialising varieties for warm, moderate and cold climates.

  • 2. Assortment of other spring flowering bulbs

    -Early: Galanthus, Eranthis, Crocus, Cyclamen, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Anemone, Puschkinia, Corydalis -Mid season: Muscari, Hyacinthus, Fritillaria, Erythronium, Leucojum, Ornithogalum, Ipheion, Hyacinthoides -Late: Ornithogalum, Bellevalia, Camassia, Allium, Nectaroscordum, Eremurus -Miscellaneous: bulbs for dry soil, bulbs for wet soil, bulbs that attract bees, fragrant bulbs, seed heads, list of best perennialising species or varieties for warm, moderate and cold climates.

  • 3. Tulips in general

    -Where they come from ( history). -Today’s classification of tulips: shapes, heights,colours,leaves, flowering period. -Botanical tulips from early to late: favourite ones for borders and rock gardens: numbers per m2 and how to mix them with suitable companions, according to colour and shape. -Long-stemmed tulips from early to late: favourite ones for borders: numbers per m2 and how to mix them with suitable companions, according to colour and shape.

  • 4. Tulips in the garden

    -Tulips in borders: annual or perennial. Mixtures and colour combinations/ sequence of flowering periods. Mixtures with other kinds of bulbs, perennials and shrubs. List of best perennialising tulips for cold, moderate and warm climates. -Tulips in pots and containers: mixtures and colour combinations/ sequence of flowering periods. Mixtures with other kinds of bulbs and biennials/ Lasagna-planting. -When to order and when to plant. Preparation/how to scatter and plant depth/maintenance after planting. -Special qualities like seed heads, scent and variegated leafs.

Meet your expert tutor

I'm perhaps best known for my collaboration with the famous planting designer Piet Oudolf. My expertise is bulbous plants, experimenting in my own garden, the Theetuin (“tea garden”), which was esta...read more

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