looking for Scilla melaina

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Tue, 06 Apr 2010 12:18:27 PDT
Gail wrote
>I've recently joined as a member in the Boston 
>area. I've been searching in this area to buy a 
>about a dozen Scilla melaina bulbs, but have 
>had no luck. Finally I found the exact plant on 
>your website. Does anyone know where I could order them from? Thank you. -Gail

The photo of Scilla melaina in the Rix and 
Phillips "Bulbs" color paperback is very tempting 
and may have been what set Gail on her quest. In 
fact, the blue of the flowers is not QUITE as 
pure as the photo suggests, but it is a pretty 
plant. As far as I know, it is not offered as a 
bulb by any North American supplier. The website 
another correspondent mentioned is that of Paul 
Christian; if he has it this year, the price will 
be high and, very likely, the bulbs small.

I grew it from seed obtained from Jim and Jenny 
Archibald (jjaseeds.com), and it took about 4 
years to flower. It does not increase much 
vegetatively, which is probably why it's not in 
commerce, and it seems rather tender, though it 
does survive freezing temperatures -- they 
probably set it back. In Boston it would be strictly a greenhouse plant.

As I discussed in the latest issue of "The Bulb 
Garden" newsletter (sent to members of PBS but 
not to those who only join the e-forum), there 
are many little-known, well-behaved Scilla 
species (now proposed to be split into many 
smaller genera), and some of them are, in my 
opinion, prettier than S. melaina though perhaps 
not as photogenic (or as Photoshopped).

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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