Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scilla peruviana

     One of my favorite bulbs, Scilla peruviana, is blooming now in the garden. Despite its name, this bulb is not from Peru or anywhere in South America, but in fact is from southern Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean region. If you are used to other scillas, the flowers of this bulb have much more of a presence. As you can see from the first image above, the overall effect is of a quite large flower, and I have seen these sold in pots at my grocery store as temporary house plants, they are so spectacular.
     Being from the Mediterranean, these bulbs are well adapted to hot and dry summers. I originally had them planted in my front border which is never watered in the summer and they did quite well there for a number of years. They even self sowed. In that spot, which, by the way, was in full sun, they would send their leaves up very early in the year--January in most years. Then they would bloom in early June and after that basically go dormant for the rest of the summer. The second shot above is from that front border area where they were planted.
     This happy state of affairs came to an end however because the deer discovered them. First, the deer would just nibble the leaves when they came up early in the year. The plants would then grow new leaves and would flower despite this treatment. Then, finally, the deer discovered the flowers and one year I had a magnificent stand of flowers about to reach their prime when they were all eaten in one night. So I had to move them into the main part of my garden which is fenced to keep the deer out.
     Scilla peruviana would look good with other low lying flowers which bloom at the same time. I grew them with California poppies, and Gladiolus communis ssp. Byzantinus. I am now growing them in one section of my garden where I have Tropaeolum polyphyllum. This tropaeolum, which I will have a subsequent post about, has clear yellow flowers and stays fairly low to the ground, so I am hoping for a dynamite combo of the two.
     Scilla peruviana, while not often found in nurseries, are available from good bulb suppliers. I have bought them from

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