Botanist's Lens: Heirloom Spring Garden Treasures at London Town


Scilla bifolia 'rosea' - entire plant

Scilla bifolia 'Rosea' is one of the earliest perennial bulbs that fills up the ornamental garden beds at London Town. The twin leaves gracefully protect the soft pink color buds as they emerge only a few inches above the bare ground. The delicate buds are enough to attract a verdant heart, but the rose colored flowers with their soft fragrance and the delicate form of the whole plant encompassing a woodland in drifts can easily leave a lingering impact on anyone. After all S. bifolia is a prefect naturalizer that has been around since the 17th century!

Scilla bifolia 'Rosea' buds

Scilla bifolia ' Rosea' with twin leaves and buds

Alpine Squill belongs to the Asparagaceae family. They need full to part sun and best of all, rabbits and deer tend to leave them alone. They look best when allowed to naturalize in drifts in woodlands or massed around specimen shrubs and trees. Once established, they can spread by self seeding or offsets.

Another heirloom that is a very rewarding naturalizer is Crocus flavus (yellow crocus) with deep rich buttercup yellow flowers. Crocuses in general like full sun and can tolerate some shade. Have you ever noticed Crocus flowers in the evening or on cloudy days? Crocus flowers show a behavior known as 'Ncytinasty' in which petals close in for the night and open up in sunlight. Seems like Crocuses don't care for the grey cloudy days either.

Crocus flavus (Yellow Crocus) buds along with blue and yellow (black spot) Pansies

Amongst the selection of hundreds of bulbs, the heirloom bulbs certainly stand out over the many modern bulb hybrids. Also, sharing with you today is a picture of one of the first daffodil enjoying the sunlight and reminding us that spring might be close!

Narcissus sp. (yellow Daffodil)

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