Thursday, March 26, 2009

Muscari - part one

Another of the lovely blue flowers of spring - well at least most of them are blue. The Muscari, Grape Hyacinths, resemble miniature Hyacinths, though I don't know of any with the delightful scent of their larger counterparts. They are from the Mediteranean region and Asia Minor and are nearly all very hardy here in our garden (zone 6, mostly). Bloom time here is late March through about the end of April, but that depends on how early it gets hot. They are long lasting in the garden so long as the temperatures don't turn summer-like. Sizes range from about 4 inches tall to some that are probably 10 inches in height. These will naturalize over time, so don't put them where they won't be welcome in a group. Misplaces seedlings are easy to transplant, though. They also make good, long lasting cut flowers.
This first on is Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike'. It is a very commonly available double flowered form.
Next for today is Muscari armeniacum 'Saffier'. This is what I think most people picture when they think of Grape Hyacinths.

Last for today is Muscari azureum. It is also known by the name of Hyacinthella or Hyacinthus azureus. These are also native to Asia Minor and are ealy spring bloomers. They tend to have lighter blue flowers at the top and darker at the bottom. Sometimes it seems to be a gradual transition and other times there is a definite line in the middle of the bloomscape dividing light and dark flowers.

All of these will be happy in most any soil as long as they get full sun, or mostly full sun. We have some in light, dappled shade that also do well.
Tomorrow I'll do the rest of the Muscari. No turtle hunting yesterday because we got rain most of the day - and it's raining again this morning. The gardens really need the water as foliage was starting to look a bit limp as if we were already in a drought. Not a good thing this early in the season.


Tatyana said...

Nice post. I have only grape type, thanks for showing other types. Will wait for your next post. Happy gardening!

keewee said...

My Grandmother used to have beds of these lovely little bulbs. Every time I see them, I think fond memories of her and I in her garden.

Northern Shade said...

The bright blue of Muscari are delightful in the spring. I grow the basic species with the classic shape, as well as the fluffy 'Blue Spike'. Last fall I added the two-toned 'Azureum', and I can't wait to see how it looks in the garden. They work well with other spring bulbs.