H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Centaurea Montana - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Centaurea Montana Described.
Centaurea Montana - Mountain Knapweed; Nat. Ord. Compositæ.
This is an "old-fashioned" and favourite flower. Every one must be familiar with its thistle-like formed flowers; it is sometimes called the large or perennial Cornflower and also the Large Bluebottle. The blue variety has been grown in English gardens since 1596. There are now white and pink coloured varieties, all rampant growers, very hardy and perennial. They are in every way superior to the annual kind, which is so largely grown, the flowers being more than twice the size, and produced two months earlier; the blooming period is maintained until late autumn.
The flowers, as before hinted, are thistle-shaped; the pericline or knob just under the florets is cone-shaped, covered with evenly set and pointed scales, green, edged with a brown margin, set round with short bristle-like teeth. The florets of the outer ring are 1½in. long, tubular half their length, the wider portion being five to seven cut; the centre florets are short and irregular, richly tinted with pink at their bases; the whole flower or ray, when expanded, is 3in. across. They are produced on stems over 2ft. long and of a somewhat procumbent habit, angular and branched near the tops; the leaves are 3in. to 6in. long, lance-shaped, entire and decurrent, giving the stems a winged appearance. They are of a greyish colour—nappy—whence the name Knapweed.
This vigorous species, with its white and pink varieties, may be grown in any kind of soil. It requires plenty of room; a two-year-old plant will form a specimen a yard in diameter under favourable conditions. The effect is good when all the three colours are grown near each other in bold pieces. They yield an unfailing supply of flowers, which are of a very useful type; in fact, the more they are cut the more they seem to bloom, and it is a good plan to cut short half the stems about June. They will (in a week or two) produce new shoots and large flowers in abundance, the gain being flowers of extra size during autumn.
Propagated by division of the roots any time.
Flowering period, June to September.
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