H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Chionodoxa Luciliae - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Chionodoxa Luciliae Described.
Chionodoxa Luciliae - Chionodoxa Luciliæ - Snow Glory; Nat. Ord. Liliaceæ.
A hardy bulbous perennial, from Asia Minor. It has only been cultivated about four years in English gardens; still it has been proved to be as hardy as the squills, which it very much resembles. Mr. Maw, who discovered and introduced it, found it "near the summit of the mountain," which (though it is a native of a much warmer climate than ours) may account for its hardy character. That it is a most beautiful flower is beyond doubt, but there are those who think it has been overpraised. It should not, however, be forgotten that Mr. Maw's description of it was from a sight of it in masses, a state in which it can hardly have been judged yet in this country, as until very recently the bulbs were very expensive. It has, however, taken kindly to our climate, and is likely to increase fast, when it may be seen to greater advantage.
It grows to the height of 6in. or 8in.; the flower scapes, which are rather slender, are somewhat shorter than the foliage, the flowers being longer in the petals than the squills, almost star-shaped, and nearly 1in. across; later on they reflex. Their colour is an intense blue, shading to white in the centre of the flower. The flowers are produced in numbers, from three to six on a stem, having slender pedicels, which cause the flowers to hang slightly bell fashion. The leaves, from their flaccidness and narrowness, compared with the squills, may be described as grassy. The bulbs are a little larger than the kernel of a cob nut, nearly round, having satiny skins or coats.
It may be grown in pots, and forces well if allowed first to make good roots, by being treated like the hyacinth. It should be kept very near the glass. It has also flowered fairly well in the open border fully exposed, but in a cold frame, plunged in sand and near the glass, it has been perfection. Single bulbs so grown in "sixties" pots have done the best by far.
All the bulbs hitherto experimented with have been newly imported; very different results may possibly be realised from "home-grown" bulbs. It is also probable that there may be varieties of this species, as not only have I noticed a great difference in the bulbs, but also in the flowers and the habit of plant. This I have mentioned to a keen observer, and he is of the same opinion; be that as it may, we have in this new plant a lovely companion to the later snowdrops, and though it much resembles the squills, it is not only sufficiently distinct from them, but an early bloomer, which we gladly welcome to our gardens. It seems to do well in equal parts of peat, loam, and sand, also in leaf soil and sand.
Flowering period, March and April.
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