Accomplishing this can happen in several ways: some perennials have their own leaves that create seasonal interest early enough to both fill the space around the flower while offering a complimentary features. Complimentary features like shape, texture, fullness, color and height are just a few examples of how foliage interplays with a flower. The other way is to use other plants to create complimentary aspects to your flowers. These other plants may replicate a feature of the flower, or may totally be different.
The image below is of an iris. It’s basal leaves form a spiky throne while the stems for the flowers grow into position. To really have irises sing, you need several plants located near each other. In my example, there are three plants between 2ft and 3ft away.
The last example is of a black tulip shown below. Of all the examples, this is the earliest of early bloomers. Tulips are a must-have for any planted bed. Along with other bulb species, tulips are in full effect by mid April (if not sooner) and add color to a new year while other plants are still fast asleep. The only down side to tulips are they offer nothing to a planted area after their bloom falls. That shouldn’t stop anyone from using them…and in my opinion, you should use as many as you can. I like to add more bulbs each autumn with the goal of establishing an army of tulips stationed any and everywhere possible throughout my yard.
Plants at Night
There’s no reason to only enjoy beautiful flowers during the day. For about two years now, I’ve used an instagram hashtag #plantsatnight to show just how incredible different plants can be when no one is looking. Below are a few shoots of the irises and Lupinus I recently took. Enjoy!