Mass bedding has been a popular way of using tulips ever since they appeared in the mid-nineteenth century beds. The style is best suited to large open tulip gardens, and in particular public parks, squares, and roadsides. Seeing tulips used in this way does not really help us imagine how best to use them in the confines of a domestic garden, but by considering this approach perhaps we can draw some helpful conclusions.
The uniform, brightly colored varieties of purple tulips, red tulips and others, that we so often see along our city streets have been developed to provide a spectacular burst of color that draws attention to the changing seasons and often to the architectural settings in which they are used. The tulip as an individual flower is very beautiful, but is generally preferred to plant them in masses (many tulips together). A guide to planting tulips may be of great help in this area.
Darwin hybrid tulips, with their huge box-shaped flowers are perhaps the least elegant of the tulip groups, are among the most effective types of tulips in this situation. In public tulip garden settings these have their place as they are a little cheaper to purchase and easily maintained.
These beds can be very monotonous if they are just a mass of solid flowers. If you can be a little creative with the planting and varieties that you choose, you will have a more creative and eye-appealing display for people to look at and enjoy.
Creative planting can also be achieved by choosing different types of bulbs such as hyacinths, daffodils, and wallflowers. They may be edged with biennials such as forget-me-nots, arabis, or viola.
You should try to introduce flower combinations that has a longer season of interest, brings structure to the planting during the winter and is cheaper to maintain for large displays in parks or public areas. Ivies, pulmonarias, periwinkles, and geraniums are good ground covers for the garden, but they are all low growing and spreading. Their impact in the winter varies and can often be effective, but even when they add flower color to the bedding display their lack of stature is never dramatic and invariably the maintenance costs associated with them are higher than might at first be expected. Not only do these types of perennials spread beyond their allotted boundaries, but most need to be replanted every three years in order to maintain their vigor and attractiveness.
What is called for is a more adventurous selection of hardy perennials that bring diversity to the planting schemes and also introduce height and structure. They must also be capable of surviving the rough and tumble of a public situation as well as offering their own effective seasonal display, be that flowers or foliage.