Today's Washington Post touts "Bulbs the Way Nature Intended - Not Standing Like Soldiers, but Dancing in Drifts." I'm not sure if I've ever planted in drifts myself but since they're a form of massing and they create impact, I'm for 'em.
Renowned landscape designers from Holland apparently recommend using bulb mixtures, like this gorgeous combo of Muscari armeniacum and daffodils, and in a similar ratio of at least twice as many of the smaller bulbs. More examples: 46 crocus, 32 grape hyacinth and 8 large hyacinth; or scilla mixed 2-to-1 with the small tulip Lilac Wonder. And they suggest the design technique of tossing the mixes and planting them roughly where they fall or in a similar natural-looking configuration.
And I know my gardening listserv members will be all abuzz about the next bulb planting pointer. You know how we're always being told to plant bulbs pointy end up and roots down? Well, no less an expert than the technical director for the Dutch bulb industry's display garden says not to worry, that the only bulb that really needs such careful placement is the hyacinth. With any other bulbs, planting them askew can result in slight variations in bloom time, but in a naturalistic drifts that's not a problem. I'll give it a try, but I'm thinking maybe it's just easier to have a "no worries" attitude when you live someplace like Holland. You know, a liberal welfare democracy where pot is legal.