H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Orobus Vernus - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Orobus Vernus Described.
Orobus Vernus - Peaseling, or Spring Bitter Vetch; Nat. Ord. Leguminosæ.
A hardy herbaceous perennial; it flowers in very early spring, and sometimes sooner, but it is in full beauty in April, its blooming period being very prolonged. Not only is this bright and handsome pea flower worth attention being a very old subject of English gardens, but also because of its intrinsic merit as a decorative plant. I say plant designedly, as its form is both sprightly and elegant, which, I fear, the illustration can hardly do justice to—more especially its spring tints and colours.
Pretty nearly as soon as the growths are out of the earth the flowers begin to appear. The greatest height the plants attain rarely exceeds a foot; this commends it as a suitable border plant. Individually the flowers are not showy, but collectively they are pleasing and effective. When they first open they are a mixture of green, red, blue, and purple, the latter predominating. As they become older they merge into blue, so that a plant shows many flowers in various shades, none of which are quite an inch long, and being borne on slender drooping stalks, which issue from the leafy stems, somewhat below the leading growths, the bloom is set off to great advantage.
The foliage in form resembles the common vetch, but is rather larger in the leaflets, and instead of being downy like the vetch, the leaves are smooth and bright. In a cut state, sprays are very useful, giving lightness to the stiffer spring flowers, such as tulips, narcissi, and hyacinths. Rockwork suits it admirably; it also does well in borders; but in any position it pays for liberal treatment in the form of heavy manuring. It seeds freely, and may be propagated by the seed or division of strong roots in the autumn. Whether rabbits can scent it a considerable distance off, I cannot say, but, certain it is, they find mine every year, and in one part of the garden eat it off bare.
Flowering period, March to May.
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