UK bulbs on the wiki

Jim McKenney
Thu, 10 Jun 2004 08:04:46 PDT
Mary Sue, those are great pictures. I think one of the coolest things about
this site is the abundance of photos taken in the wild. And please,
everyone, include some broad shots of your garden. Other people may see
things of interest which you may not have thought important enough to
mention. And I'm also surprised at how similar woodland settings look in
various parts of the world. Jamie's photos of Arum maculatum look as if
they could have been taken in the beech wood in back of my garden. The
photos of Veratrum fimbriatum site look somehow like our local woods. And
when I looked at Jane's photo of Cardiocrinum, I was really surprised to
see it growing in a border which looks as if it might be in my neighborhood. 

These photos have prompted some questions, too. 

One is for Diane Whitehead. While checking out the Anemone nemorosa photo
on the Anemone page (btw, the link in the e-mail took me to an obsolete
Anemone page) I saw Diane's photo of her new Anemone nemorosa variant.
There are two flowers in that picture. The one on the right is her new
variant, right? But what is the one on the left? If that is Vestal, it is
not like the Vestal I grow. Mine has a much shorter, tidier central tuft.
I've heard that there are more than one Vestal making the rounds. Evidently
Vestal broke her vows once or twice. 

Another question is for Mark McDonough and concerns Allium ursinum. In the
photos it's really beautiful. Superficially, it looks a lot like our native
(native here on the east coast of North America) Allium tricoccum, locally
known as "ramps" and, purportedly, once (and who knows, maybe now) enjoyed
with bear meat. Note that the "ursinum" in Allium ursinum is a reference to
bears. My question for Mark is this: as Allium go, are A. ursinum and A.
tricoccum closely related? Also, for those of you who might want to grow
this plant (I did briefly years ago; it's a real stinker) be aware that the
bulbs do not store well.

Whenever I see broad masses of single species growing in nature, I wonder:
are they the sort of plants which secrete chemicals which kill or suppress
the growth of other nearby species. I think some poppies and ranunculus do
this. Does anyone know if the  Hyacinthoides, Anemone and Allium do this? 

While searching for an explanation for the name Lords and Ladies I did come
up with a sort of answer, but it's one which does not really satisfy me.
Constance Spry (Winter and Spring Flowers, 1951) has this to say: "They are
strange flowers, I think beautiful in their subdued colour, and possessing
dignity; others have thought so too, hence their name, Lords and Ladies..."
My impression is that this name was not in general use in the distant past,
perhaps not even as recently as Gertrude Jekyll's time (she called it the
cuckoo pint or wild arum). The really old works, Gerard and Parkinson, heve
colorful names which you can look up yourself. 

An added bonus in my "research": I ran across this from Gertrude Jekyll's
Home and Garden (1900): "Is it only an instance of patriotic prejudice, or
is it really, as I believe, a fact, that no country roads and lanes in the
temperate world are so full of sweet and homely pictorial incident as those
of our dear England?"

Bob and Mary Sue, your pictures seem to confirm this! Thanks for sharing. 

Jim McKenney  

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