Spring Quartette Plus
Many years ago, I saw clumps of Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) in bloom in May at Bluff Spring Fen. Enchanted, that fall I bought some bulbs–maybe 7–and planted them. Alas, not a one came up–I attributed it to squirrels digging them up.
Several years later–May 2007, one came up and bloomed! A year later, May 2008, 3 came up and bloomed! I have no idea why they were dormant for so long.
Wild Hyacinth does, indeed, resemble the familiar Dutch bulb Hyacinth, although these have a more delicate look. A member of the lily family, its 6-petaled (actually tepaled), soft, light lavender-blue flowers form a spike that grows 6-18” tall from the center of long strap-like basal leaves. In the wild it is found in patches in both prairie and savanna, although the only ones I have ever seen were those at a savanna in Bluff Spring Fen, pictured above.
Mine are planted in part shade amongst drifts of Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) and Shooting Star (Dodecatheon media) and, of course–you know what I’m going to say next– a few sedges. I have Carex radiata, a small, mounded sedge, less than a foot tall, Carex brevior, a 1-2’ upright, clump-forming sedge, and of course, Penn Sedge.
An unplanned, happy surprise–serendipity– occurred when previously planted Yellow Pimpernell (Taenidia interigerrima) bloomed at the same time as the pink and lavender composition, the golden yellow adding punch to the picture.
Yellow Pimpernel belongs to the Umbelliferae that always adds grace and interest to any composition. The bright yellow umbells show off against its exquisite, divided Columbine-like foliage. It is found in open woodlands and also prairies. Self-seeding, In addition to the three I planted in my savanna island, there are a half a dozen new plants in the border savanna garden–a most welcome addition.
How beautiful is this? This is in bloom in my garden today in very light shade and in mesic soil.
In May, 2012, I now have 6 Wild Hyacinth plants with 8 blooms in my savanna island.
Have any of you had experience with Camassia scilloides or Taenidia interigerrima? I’d love to hear about it.
Jack Shouba sent me this photograph of Wild Hyacinth growing and blooming in Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Il. I believe they are in bloom now–check it out!