Cheiranthus Cheiri - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Cheiranthus Cheiri Described.
Cheiranthus Cheiri -
Common Wallflower; Nat. Ord. Cruciferæ.
This well-known evergreen shrub is more
or less hardy in our climate, according to the conditions under which it is grown.
Although a native of the South of Europe, it rarely happens, however severe the
winter may be in this country, that we are totally deprived of the favourite
bouquet of Wallflowers in winter or early spring, while it is equally true that,
during the hard weather of one or two recent winters, in numerous gardens every
plant was killed. In favourable seasons its blooms are produced throughout winter,
but the full blow comes in April. Three hundred years ago it was known by its
present name; in this respect it is a rare exception, as most flowers have many
and widely different names, especially the "old-fashioned" sorts, so
that often the varied nomenclature hinders the identification of the species.
At one time the Wallflower was called the "Gillyflower," but the name
is now only applied to a biennial and single-flowered variety of the stock—a
near relation of the Wallflower. More than 200 years ago Parkinson wrote, "Those
Wallflowers that, carrying beautiful flowers, are the delights and ornaments
of a garden of pleasure."
Of its well-known beauties, as regards its form, colour, varieties, and delicious
perfume, description is needless, though I may say, in passing, that its fragrance
renders it of value to those whose olfactory nerve is dead to the scent of most
Two errors are frequently committed in planting the Wallflower; first, at
the wrong time, when it is nearly a full-grown specimen and showing its flowers;
next, in the wrong way, as in rows or dotted about. It should be transplanted
from the seed beds when small, in summer or early autumn, and not in ones and
twos, but in bold and irregular groups of scores together; anything like lines
or designs seems out of harmony with this semi-wildling. There is another and
very easy method which I should like to mention, as a suggestion—that of
naturalisation; let those near ruins, quarries, and railway embankments and cuttings,
generously scatter some seed thereon during the spring showers, when the air
is still; in such dry situations this flower proves more hardy than in many gardens.
Moreover, they serve to show it to advantage, either alone or in connection
with other shrubs, as the whin, which flowers at the same time; here, too, it
would be comparatively safe from being "grubbed up."
Flowering period, January to June.
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