Photo: withrow (flickr)
Ogden Nash wrote, “My garden will never make me famous, as I am a horticultural ignoramus.”
Fortunately there are some plants that don’t require much skill, yet provide enjoyment by suddenly reappearing each spring as if by magic. The tiny scilla is one of these rewarding yet undemanding fellows.
Like other hardy small bulbs that are planted in the fall, they only need a 4″ hole in a sunny spot and they will multiply over time and provide a carpet of color.
The will even naturalize in the lawn or under deciduous trees because they bloom before the leaves cast shade on them. Their other good points are that deer don’t bother them and that their foliage is neat and dies down quickly after the flowers fade.
The flowers can be blue or white, but the blue ones are the most popular. The species name is Scilla Sibirica and they are commonly known as squill. They originated in Europe and may have been cultivated there as early as 1597.
A 16th century writer, John Gerard described the small blue flowers as having six little petals spread like a star. Once you have seen these small blue stars en masse, you will resolve to plant some bulbs next fall in your own garden. They look delicate, but are hardy and dependable. If Ogden Nash had known about scilla, he could have had a garden that made him famous, even if he had been an ignoramus.