Go Little Scilla Go

Those were son Jonathan’s words as I posted on January 10th regarding my experiment with the Scilla peruviana this year.  Despite reading (for instance on the Van Engelen site) that this plant was not frost hardy, I liked it enough that I wanted to give it go in Maryland.  My original concern was that the plant poked it’s head well above ground in December so that I thought this one is so anxious to flower that it’s never going to make it.  Well the plants survived the winter just fine but as of April my concern was that they weren’t going to flower.  According to the Pacific Bulb Society they are notorious for skipping the flowering part of their growth cycle.  However it seems that I just had to be patient for all the little Scillas to finish blooming.  I guess these guys just don’t want to share the stage.

Scilla peruviana in bloom

Scilla peruviana in bloom

They are not only much, much larger than other Scilla but they put up multiple flowering stocks per plant, 4-5 apiece.  Most of the spring bulbs are finished at this point.  Just a few straggling daffodils and now these glorious Scilla peruvianas.  

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana

This extensive plant and multiple flowering stalks is the result of one $4 bulb from Brent and Becky’s.  Based on our experience you can try this plant down to 10 degrees and expect it to not only winter over, but thrive.

The most recent flower to arrive on the scene today is a Japanese Roof Iris that had been overshadowed by an American Holly and surrounding shrubs for most its life.  Thanks to the loss of the Holly that the falling apple tree knocked over (talk about your chain of events) the little patch of Roof Iris is getting sun they never imagined before.  And flowering nicely as a consequence.

Japanese iris (variety long since forgotten)

Japanese Roof Iris (Iris tectorum)

In a testimony to keeping your senses alive to that which surrounds you, I was walking in the woods this past week after talking to friends about trees that are flowering along with the dogwoods in the local woods.  I had identified them as Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium) by reference to the web.  I expressed the wish at the time that we too should have some of these pretty shrubs.  And so I’m walking along, staring at my feet for unexpected wild flowers and I noticed some white flower petals.  And I looked up to see not one, but three Black Haws on our property.  Now, mind you, I have been walking these woods for 33 years and have never noticed what were obviously very old Viburnum prunifolium.  So the lesson, dear reader, is that you need to be continually open to the surprises that nature has for you.   And that no matter how much you think you know what you are about to see, each moment has its own gifts to offer should you choose to accept them.  

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium) in flower

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium) in flower

Not two days later I was walking at dusk along the pasture perimeter and a strong fragrance (almost like honeysuckle) just stopped me in my tracks.  I traced it to a small tree and then realized that I had discovered once again the Russian Olives that are randomly placed in some of the tree-lined borders.  They have an intensity of flowering that makes you understand how they can be invasive but also a fragrance that makes you want to ignore the fact that they may be illegal aliens.

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) branch

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) branch

Russian Olive shrub-like tree

Russian Olive shrub-like tree

3 comments on “Go Little Scilla Go

  1. Jonathan

    That’s a *stunning* iris! The markings are exquisite…

    1. jw

      Well, I don’t think I would ever have found this but you are quite right and I’ve changed the write-up to reflect this detective work. Despite the comments on the web about the roof iris being happy in the shade, it’s definitely flowering more now with some sunlight.