Friday, April 9, 2010

Pretty picture: Muscari sp.

I found out while preparing this post that there are several species of Muscari which are all called "grape hyacinth," something I did not know before. I don't know which of those this plant is, but it was planted at the Catholic church in town.


I don't really know Muscari very well. None planted around the house when I was a kid, no amusing garden center stories involving them. They seem like nice people, though. Maybe a little invasive, I hear, though I can't imagine many folks minding.

It occurs to me that just to mess with people, someone needs to name a variety of the regular hyacinths Hyacinthus x 'Grape.' Then when people go into the garden center and ask for a "grape hyacinth," amusing misunderstandings may happen.

Probably someone's done that already, though.


11 comments:

Aralia said...

This plant is called pearl lily in finnish. The pearl part i understand, as the flower seems to be made of blue pearls, but why lily?

Ginny Burton said...

Voted for your blog in multiple categories!

Bellen said...

Grape hyacinths were one of the first spring flowers in our yard. My mom planted them just in front of the front door evergreens (don't know what they were) so we were greeted coming and going.

I remember when white grape hyacinths became popular - Mom planted them in color blocks with the purple - quite avant garde in the 50s.

Andrew said...

Pearl Lily... maybe for the resemblance to Lily of the Valley? That would be my guess.

Karen715 said...

They're nice. I planted a lot of them a few years under a row of Weigela a few years ago. They bloom now, before the shrubs leaf out, then remain unobtrusive and grass-like until they die back (no long-lasting ugly foliage like, say, daffodils) Mine have multiplied somewhat, but they aren't garden thugs.

Jeane said...

We just bought a house two years ago, and the front flowerbeds are full of grape hyacinth. They come back every year, and occasionally a thin cluster shows up in the lawn. I never saw them as a kid and incorrectly called them "blubells" for a while.

Don said...

If you ever plant them, you'll find that the leaves emerge in the fall and look ratty all winter. This can look really ugly. In the spring they put out more leaves and look fresh for a while before going into their summer dormancy.

Some people use this trait to mark other dormant bulb plantings, as for example by surrounding a drift of narcissus, which might otherwise be accidentally disturbed by digging.

But if you want early blue flowers in your lawn, consider planting Siberian squill, Scilla sibirica. It blooms earlier, and you don't have to worry about mowing the foliage, because it goes dormant so early. And it's electric blue.

ScreamingGreenConure said...

I saw some of these yesterday, in a container planting. They smell gorgeous.

Paul said...

Hmmm, in my folks' beds, this one does have foliage that persists for most of the summer. It can be a spreader but it's not to hard to rip out if that is one's desire.

faroutflora said...

I think they are named after the Muscat wine grapes. I hear that Southern CA use them as turf..but you really cannot walk on it. Matti

lisa said...

Post comments are full of interesting references, I've never heard of "pearl lilly". My mom has these all over the place in her garden in Indiana, but they are so demure, cute and easy to pull that "invasive" is a stretch. Maybe "enthusiastic" :)