Jacqueline van der Kloet
Jacqueline's Design Notes
About Jacqueline

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Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’ and Astrantia. In early mid spring, a planting of Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' (Greek windflower) is beautifully framed by the foliage of emerging Astrantia. Six-inch tall Anemone blanda is prized for its blue or white daisy-like flowers and cute upward-facing leaves. “When choosing plants to pair with spring bulb flowers, look for compatible perennials that fill out early in spring and offer interest in color, texture and size,” says Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’
and Astrantia

Combo: Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’ with Astrantia

Location: Harlingen (Friesland), NL, Equivalent to USDA Zone 8b

Notes: Low-growing Anemone blanda is useful for adding a secondary layer of color in the early-mid spring garden. It thrives in full sun or dappled shade and will naturalize when planted in a spot that it likes. I love the contrast between its bright green foliage and sky blue flowers.

Astrantia makes a great companion for early and mid season bulbs. It comes up early and fills out fairly slowly so that by mid-late spring it's still low, just the right height to form a backdrop of green. It has nice, but not large, leaves that don’t compete with blooming bulbs. Later, as the astrantia gains size, it hides the yellowing foliage of the bulb plants after bloom. In this way, the astrantia provides ornamental value in spring as well as in summer when its old-fashioned, pincushion flowers bloom.

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Naturalized Woodland Planting with Daffodils. In a naturalistic woodland planting, Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet features diminutive, heirloom daffodil varieties with small, nodding flowers in shades of soft white and pale yellow. Miniature daffodils with a similar look include Narcissus 'W.P. Milner' (pre-1869), N. 'Hawera' (1928) and N. 'Sun Disc' (1946). Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Naturalized Woodland
Planting with Daffodils

Combo: Heirloom narcissi in softer shades of white and yellow (all one foot tall or less). Companion plants include: bulb flower Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ and perennials: Helleborus orientalis, Corydalis solida, Primula elatior (true oxlip), Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Mrs. Moon’, Arum, Anemone japonica, Rodgersia and Geranium macrorrhizum.

Location: "De Theetuin," Jacqueline’s garden in Weesp, NL. Equivalent to Seattle: USDA Zone 8a, AHS Heat Zone 2

Notes: This exciting but subdued combination brightens the dappled shade of a woodland area. My focus is on the various colors, textures, and heights, as well as the shapes of the flowers and foliage. A relaxed, elfin mood prevails. The colors are soft. Cream, yellow and blue dominate within a sea of greens. The greenish seed heads of winter-flowering hellebores add a nice, dignified touch.

The daffodils will naturalize to provide extended bloom, year after year. The Scilla, too, is naturalizing and, over time, will create carpets of brilliant blue that will bloom in sync with the daffodils in spring. The Pulmonaria and Geranium also gain size. In the same area, where a bit more shaded and moist, I’ve placed Arum, Anemone japonica, Rodgersia and Geranium macrorrhizum. The Primula elatior is self-seeding here. Where it becomes overly enthusiastic, it’s easy to pull out.

The scene changes constantly in spring, over the course of six to eight weeks. As the bulb flowers fade, their foliage dies back naturally. By then, the perennials have taken center stage.

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Three Daffodils with Dwarf Mock Orange. Daffodils are scattered among dwarf mock orange in an area of dappled sunlight in this spring garden combination by Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet. Three daffodil varieties are featured: mid spring bloomer Narcissus 'Thalia' and late season bloomers N. Geranium and N. 'Louise de Coligny'. After bloom, the daffodil flower heads and foliage will be left to die-back naturally for six to eight weeks. During this phase, bulbous plants recharge with energy to support the following spring's blooms. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Three Daffodils with
Dwarf Mock Orange

Combo: Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' (mock orange) and Narcissus ‘Thalia', N. ‘Geranium’, N. Louise de Coligny’.

Location: The Keukenhof, Lisse, NL. Equivalent to USDA Zone 8b

Notes: In a woodland area with dappled sunlight and normal soil, a mix of daffodils is planted among yellow Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' (mock orange). Three white daffodils are featured: mid-season bloomer Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (with a cream-colored cup) and late-season bloomers N. ‘Geranium’ (orange cup) and N. 'Louise de Coligny' (apricot-colored cup). The idea here is subtle surprise – the plant mix brightens in a way that is more colorful than is expected. The same surprise returns in subsequent springs as the daffodils get enough sun to naturalize here. After bloom, the daffodil foliage disappears as it dies back, masked by the mock orange. This combination will be a joy for many years.

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Layers of Contrast Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet is known for artful, naturalized planting schemes and bold use of color. Here she pairs the elegant, large-flowered Tulipa 'Ballerina' (orange) and T. 'Queen of Night' (deep maroon) with dark-stemmed, white-flowered Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing', a hybrid of the wild flower cow parsley.The lacy foliage of 'Ravenswing' is green initially, then evolves to deep purple-black. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Layers of Contrast

Combo: Orange Tulipa 'Ballerina' and deep maroon T. 'Queen of Night' — with dark-stemmed, white-flowered Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing', a hybrid form of common cow parsley.

Invasive alert: ‘Ravenswing’ is invasive in parts of North America. In the U.S. it is primarily grown by seed. Be aware that it can run rampant where happy, unless deadheaded before going to seed. In the Netherlands, ‘Ravenswing’ is widely available, pre-grown in nursery pots.

Location: Beervelde, Belgium. Equivalent to USDA Zone 8b

Notes: Contrast is often bold but it does not need to be. Sometimes it is even more impressive when contrast is subtle and feminine.

Layers of contrast work together here to achieve a smashing effect. First, there's the contrast between the large tulip flowers and the small, delicate flowers and foliage of the Anthriscus. Additionally the rich orange plays off the dark brownish-purple, while the lacy white connects it all like a veil.

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Tulips with Smyrnium and Nigella In late spring, Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet showcases magenta tulips in a sea of gold and green companion plants. There’s great contrast between the bright flowers of lily-flowered Tulipa ‘Ballade’, the dill-like foliage of Nigella (love in a mist) and the gold flowers and foliage of Smyrnium perfoliatum (yellow alexander). After bloom, the tulips and Smyrnium fade. At that point, van der Kloet pulls the fading Smyrnium, which sometimes self-seeds excessively. The Nigella continues to bloom into mid-summer, then sets attractive seed heads. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Tulips with Smyrnium and Nigella

Combo: Lily-flowered Tulipa ‘Ballade’, Smyrnium perfoliatum (yellow alexander), Nigella damascene (love in a mist) and Geranium macrorrhizum (cranesbill).

Invasive alert: Smyrnium and Nigella are self-seeders that can become invasive in some areas. Both are easy to pull.

Location: Hulst (Zeeland). NL. Equivalent to USDA Zone 8b

Notes: When I encountered this simple border, it was rather boring in spring. That changed when Smyrnium perfoliatum (yellow alexander) and Nigella damascena (love in a mist) popped up. They’d self-seeded among existing Geranium macrorrhizum (perennial geranium). The geranium is still there as a ground cover for later in the season.

This was a spontaneous green-on-green combination that I liked. I invigorated the mix with splashes of bright magenta by adding lily-flowered Tulipa ‘Ballade’. There’s great contrast between the the large bright tulips, the dill-like foliage of Nigella and the golden foliage and flowers of Smyrnium.

With little investment of time or money, this very simple border is attractive in spring as well as summer. The combination is magic for nearly three weeks. By late spring, the tulips fade. When the Smyrnium turns golden and papery, it’s time to pull it out – the show is over. Meanwhile, the Nigella begins to bloom. If re-seeded, it keeps going all summer, producing new foliage and seed heads. The Geranium macrorrhizum blooms late spring through mid-summer, with flowers in nearly the same color of magenta.

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Spring Sequence in Yellow and Orange. In spring and early summer, the colors yellow, orange and deep red set the tone in one area of landscape designer Jacqueline van der Kloet's garden in Weesp, NL. First, yellow crocus and early daffodils bloom. Then come early, mid and late season tulips, among them: Tulipa praestans 'Shogun', T. 'Yellow Purissima', T. 'Orange Emperor', T. 'Jewel of Spring', T. 'Flashback' and T. 'Ballerina'. Throughout spring and early summer the foliage and flowers of various companion plants add changing heights, colors, structures and textures. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Spring Sequence in Yellow and Orange

Combo: The series kicks off with yellow crocus, followed by early blooming yellow daffodils (Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’). Then come the tulips, including types that flower early, mid season and late. Among them are: Tulipa praestans ‘Shogun’, T. ‘Yellow Purissima’, T. Orange Emperor’, T. ‘Jewel of Spring’, T. ‘Flashback’ and T. Ballerina’.

The companion plants include some of my favorities: Primula elatior (pale yellow flowers, a self-seeder); Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ (an early ornamental grass, bright yellow, a self-seeder); Erysimum (wallflower); Euphorbia characias wulffenii; and various Geranium, now with foliage only visible, the flowers will come later in summer.

Location: "De Theetuin," Jacqueline’s garden in Weesp, NL. Equivalent to Seattle: USDA Zone 8a, AHS Heat Zone 2

Notes: The perennial base of this border in spring has yellow, orange and deep red flowers and/or foliage and so do the spring flowering bulbs. The bulbs bloom sequentially, with an ongoing show of yellow, orange and deep red flowers, always with changing heights, structures and textures. After bloom, the declining bulb foliage will disappear between the perennials.

For a planting of this sort, I might add bulbs in quantities like these, per square yard: 8 long-stemmed tulip and/or 8 tall narcissus bulbs; 12 botanical tulip bulbs and/or 12 small narcissi; 20 scilla; 20 crocus; and 15 Anemone blanda.

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A Tapestry of Spring Color. Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet combines an intricate mix of flower bulbs, biennials, perennials and shrubs in a spring garden. The design blooms in an evolving tapestry of color for six to eight weeks, from early spring into early summer. In mid-late spring, three varieties of daffodils and four of tulips are in bloom, along with wallflowers and forget-me-nots. Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

A Tapestry of Spring Color

Combo: Seen here are three late-flowering daffodils plus four mid to mid-late blooming tulips (including Greigii, Species, Darwin Hybrid and Viridiflora types). Companion plants include: Euphorbia, wall flowers and Mysotis (forget-me-nots). Early-summer peonies and roses will join in.

Location: Oostkapelle (Zeeland), NL. Equivalent to USDA Zone 9a

Notes: In my client's garden, we are playing with the colors red, yellow and orange in both spring and summer. Here tulips and daffodils add light splashes of bold color to a green backdrop laced with deep red (red wall flowers, red-leafed peonies) and greenish yellow (Euphorbia). The piquant touch of brilliant blue is Myosotis (forget-me-nots), planted lightly, here and there.

Later in the season, a lovely interplay develops between not-yet-budded-out summer companions: yellow Rosa ‘Golden Wings’ (center), yellow Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (not yet visible) and the orange-yellow Crocosmia ‘George Davison’ (the clumped upright narrow leaves, on the left).

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Pink Lily-Flowered Tulips. Pink lily-flowered tulips seem to float above mixed perennials in the garden of Dutch designer Jacqueline van der Kloet. The two tulips are nearly identical with one major difference: Tulipa ‘Jacqueline’ grows to a height of 23 inches, while T. Mariette' tops out at 18 inches. Says van der Kloet, “That gentle difference softens the overall effect.” Credit: Jacqueline van der Kloet/Colorblends.com

Pink Lily-Flowered Tulips

Combo: two pink tulips, Tulipa ‘Jacqueline’ and T. Mariette'.

Location: "De Theetuin," Jacqueline’s garden in Weesp, NL. Equivalent to Seattle: USDA Zone 8a, AHS Heat Zone 2

Notes: In late spring two pink, lily-flowered tulips, ‘Jacqueline’ (not named for me) and ‘Mariette’, take the leading role around the edge of this part of my garden. They are almost identical but differ in height. That gentle difference softens the overall effect.

Beneath the tulips, you see an understory of Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Spessart’ (not yet in bloom), Geranium sylvaticum ‘Album’ (white,) Myosotis (forget-me-not) (some blue, some pink), Aquilegia vulgaris (not yet in bloom), and Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass).

As spring moves into early summer, the scene changes. A more structural feel is evident. The color becomes more subtle, predominantly green. Now, the graceful movement of silvery-green ornamental grass (Stipa tenuissima) is what draws one's eye. The clumps of soft grass are set off by late emerging Euphorbia seguieriana niciciana (Siberian spurge). This semi-evergreen beauty has upward-facing clusters of round, lime-green florets, backed by dark red stems and narrow blue-green foliage. Its complexity is brilliant in combination with massed plants with simple, vertical lines such as grasses, alliums and lavenders.

My home and garden are in the small town of Weesp on the River Vecht, nine miles from Amsterdam’s center city. My garden benefits from fairly temperate conditions, with a winter that's cool but not freezing and a summer that is, increasingly, drier.

Given good sun and good soil, certain spring bulbs naturalize here. Even some tulips come back to rebloom, often for several years, sometimes more. When we started the garden it had heavy clay. So I added sand and compost to improve the soil drainage. Each spring, I add organic, slow-release compost to the soil surface as soon as the bulb foliage noses through. This provides steady nutrition till late spring, when energy is needed to make a new flowering bulb for next year. After bloom, I deadhead spent flowers, with a quick snip or a snap right under the flower head. I leave everything else as is – stems and leaves are left to wither fully, untouched. Plus, over summer, unless adjacent perennials are fainting, I do not do supplementary watering. No sprinklers. Most dormant bulbs want to be dry. That's all the magic I put in.

Excerpt from Jacqueline's new book:
I leave all bulbs in the ground after they have flowered and then hope that they will flower again for many years. That method works well for several species, but tulips are always a risk. That is because they are very particular: the right habitat, not too wet and not too dry, the right amount of light and various other requirements.

Experience has taught me that the strongest tulips – which are likely to flower for several years – come from the groups of Darwin hybrids, lily-flowering tulips, a few late tulips and double late tulips. But there are a number of parrot tulips, including ‘Black Parrot’, ‘Flaming Parrot’ and ‘Professor Rontgen’, which will return several years in succession too.”

van der Kloet, Jacqueline. A Year in My Garden, Amsterdam, Hélène Lesger Books, © 2019