H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Onosma Taurica - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Onosma Taurica Described.
Onosma Taurica - Golden Drop; Nat. Ord. Boraginaceæ.
A hardy perennial, somewhat woody, and retaining much of its foliage in a fresh state throughout the winter, though by some described as herbaceous. The leaves which wither remain persistent, and sometimes this proves a source of danger to the specimen, from holding moisture during our wet winters, causing rot to set in. It is a comparatively new plant in English gardens, having been introduced from the Caucasus in 1801, and as yet is seldom met with. Not only is it distinct in the form of its flowers—as may be seen by the illustration—from other species of its order, but it has bloom of exceptional beauty, and the plant as a garden subject is further enhanced in value from the fact of its delicious perfume and perpetual blooming habit—i.e., it flowers until stopped by frosts; in short, it is one of the very finest hardy flowers, and if I could only grow a small collection of fifty, this should be one of such collection.
The flowers are bright yellow, 1½in. long, somewhat pear-shaped, and tubular. The calyx is long and deeply divided; the corolla is narrowed at the mouth; segments short, broad, and rolled back, forming a sort of rim. The flowers are arranged in branched heads, which are one-sided. The flower stalks are short, and the flowers and buds closely grown. The stems are about a foot long, having short alternate shoots, which flower later on; they are weighed to the ground with the numerous flowers and buds; the leaves are 3in. to 6in. long, narrow, lance-shaped, reflexed, and covered with short stiff hairs, which impart a grey appearance to the foliage.
It should be grown fully exposed, as it loves sunshine; if planted in the frequented parts of the garden, its delicious perfume is the more likely to be enjoyed; on rockwork, somewhat elevated, will perhaps prove the best position for it, as then the pendent flowers can be better seen and studied. The whole habit of the plant renders it a suitable subject for the rock garden; it may be grown in either loam or vegetable soil if well drained, and when it once becomes established in genial quarters it makes rapid growth and is very floriferous. What a rich bed could be formed of this, judiciously mixed with hardy fuchsias and the various linums, having deep blue flowers and graceful slender stems! These all love a breezy situation and sunshine, they also all flower at the same time, and continuously. To increase this choice plant, cuttings should be taken during summer; they may be rooted quickly if placed in a cucumber frame and kept shaded for ten or twelve days; water should be given carefully, or the hairy leaves will begin to rot. Aim at having the young stock well rooted and hardened off before the cold weather sets in.
Flowering period, June to the frosts.
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