Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Squill!

Today was another near classic Iowa Spring day in our neck of the woods with a bright sunny morning just perfect for gazing at and photographing the emerging flowers. Fortunately Fernymoss had the day off from work (I was diligently slaving away up in my cubbyhole.) So he went out with the S700 and started snapping away ... so here are a few more of the Squill (Scilla siberica) that are now popping up in all sorts of places in the yard.

The first two shots are examples of Squill growing out in the front parking by the sidewalk ... I think the first shot is one of Fernymoss' best so far, and he got some quite nice shots of them today. I chose these three examples to give them several representative views to give you an idea of how they grow and just how diminutive these little beauties really are. And to think they are originally native to the steppes of Eurasia ... these little expatriates seem to fit in just as naturally in our landscape!

Check out how deep blue the anthers are in that first shot, as well as the purplish hue of the stem leading up to the flower ... they're just positively regal in the range of hues that just one little flower displays! The second shot also really shows off the depth of color each bloom stalk contains and you can see the transition from green to purple stem much more closely in this picture. And the third shot is a volunteer that just popped up by one of the tulip plantings. I think Fernymoss did an astounding job on this one capturing not only the beauty of the flower itself but also the shadow, which, for some reason (combined with that 'alien eye' in the tulip leaf), seems vaguely sinister to me. (Maybe I've just been watching too much sci-fi lately?)

I can't laud the Scilla species enough, as they are, to my mind, one of the easiest and most carefree bulbs any (aspiring or not) gardener can have in the landscape. Of course, there's the initial planting, which can seem like a lot of work, but really, after getting them into the ground, they are virtually maintenance free (just like crocuses)! And since the bulbs are small, they only have to go down about 2-3 inches, so no huge trenches or holes as you have to do with the larger bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Since they naturalize so freely (after three or four years or so), I'd recommend planting them right down there in the grass in the fall, where they'll return the following spring, bringing a brilliant blue to wherever they grow ... just what we need (along with the bright crocuses) when winter finally loosens its grasp in the garden. You'd be well advised to plant as many as you can the first year out (I have seen recommended that you should never start with less than 100!) and plant several at a time in an area to give them a preliminary 'stand' that they can expand upon in future years. They're very hardy (growing from Zones 2-8!) and reliable bulbs who return year after year to banish the blues of winter and herald the coming vibrant colors of Spring.

Boran2, do you have Squill envy too now? They'd be a dynamite combo planted near Crocus and will generally bloom at about the time the Crocus are at their peak, and then linger a bit longer (primarily to develop their 'bulblets') until disappearing entirely for the rest of the year. The nice thing about having them in the grass is that by the time the Squill are done they can be safely mowed over, where they recede into the ground until the next year's show ...

Photos taken by Fernymoss on 21 April, 2008, using the Fuji S700.


olivia said...

Beautiful photos! These are such tiny flowers and look at the detail FernyMoss captured ... awesome job!

I think they have these growing out in the public garden. Little blue flowers. Now that I see your post here, I definitely think that's whay they are.

And isn't it great to see green again too ... :)

boran2 said...

Okay, I'll have to get some squill(s) as well. I'll be busy looking for all the bulbs that I now need. ;-) The photos are wonderful.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey there Olivia and B2!
Olivia, thx for the photo you emailed tonight to confirm the sighting! I'm envious of that huge patch in your second shot! Now you just need to add these to your list to put out in the fall, hehe.

B2, you'll be happy you did when you see these little guys popping up next spring! I'd recommend that you check out the McClure Zimmerman and Van Bourgondien links on my sidebar... they're both companies we have ordered from and been quite happy, and their prices are really reasonable too for quantities. All those daffodils we put out in 2005 came from a half bushel of bulbs I got from V-B for about $50 at the time. There were almost 200 in that basket, lol. Also, a lot of those crocus you liked came from them as well.