H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Gentiana Acaulis - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Gentiana Acaulis Described.
Gentiana Acaulis - Gentianella; Nat. Ord. Gentianaceæ.
A hardy, evergreen creeper, its creeping stems running immediately under the surface. This is a remarkably beautiful plant, and the wonder is that it is not grown in every garden. The most attractive features, when in flower, of this dwarf Gentian are its immensely large blooms and neat shining green foliage. It is easily identified, there being not another species like it, and certainly very few to equal it for beauty and service; it forms one of the best edgings for beds and borders. Many report that it is difficult to grow, which may be the case in some gardens from one cause or other, whilst in many places it runs like quick-grass.
Flowers, dark bright blue, large, long bell-shaped, but not drooping; tube, five-angular, nearly 3in. long; corolla, five-limbed, and an inch or more wide; the stems are seldom more than 3in. long, square, furnished with small opposite leaves, and terminated with one flower on each. That part of the foliage which sends up the flower is arranged in rosette form, the leaves being stout, flat, and acutely lance-shaped. Anywhere or everywhere may this subject be planted; it is always bright, even in winter, and when there are no flowers upon it it forms a rich covering for the otherwise bare ground; its blooms will each keep good a week. They are rarely produced in great numbers at one time, but the plants will continue for a long while to yield them sparingly.
I find G. acaulis to thrive well at the base of rockwork, as an edging to a flat bed, and in the gutters of the garden walks—it likes moisture. To me this is clearly proved by other plants, which, in all respects but one, are treated the same, the exceptional condition being that they are planted on the sloping face of rockwork, where they scarcely grow and never bloom. With reference to soil, rich or silky loam is best for it, but any kind, if sweet and retentive, will do. Its propagation may be effected by division of the rooted creeping stems after they have made four leaves. Very early in spring is a good time to do this, but neither these nor the old plant, if it has been much disturbed, will flower the same season after being so mutilated.
Flowering period, May to July.
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