Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bluebells: All Is Forgiven...

I recently complained about native bluebells (Mertensia virginica) spreading willy-nilly through my woodland garden and trying to take over some of the flower beds; I will say, however, that in late April when the hostas are just unfurling their leaves, you can get some smashing combinations with the bluebells. Just when I think about ripping all the bluebells out, they do something cute! Sigh... well, vigorous garden management was never my strong suit.
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There are so many different perennials in my shade garden and yet I've never added blue bells. I don't think I've ever seen them for sale either, I'll have to look around for them.
You are right. That is a good combo. I wonder if those bluebells would work in my zone 1b climate, in a protected place? I tried Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebells) from bulbs before, but they just barely came up too late, and then died without flowering.
Melanie... once you have them, you ALWAYS have them.

Gardenista... 1B?? Is that north or south of the Arctic Circle? There is Mertensia siberica, the Siberian bluebell, which I think I'm too warm to grow.It looks like a beauty.
Isn't there always room for a little blue ? .. especially after a long winter too !
Last year I decided to let the Mertensia slug it out with the Stylophorum. I can't wait to see what they look like blooming together.
Thank you for acquiescing at least to the point of tolerance with those bluebells. I was a little worried. I'll continue to watch mine, but that photo shows a dynomite combination!
GardenJoy... yah, blue in the spring can't be beat.

MMD... I'll put my money on the Stylophorum.

Shady... well, I'll call it a truce. Actually I just don't have the energy to pull them out.

Hmmmm...I can't get Mertensia to spread nearly quickly enough to suit me. Maybe it's the wet cold clay.I'm going to try them in another part of the garden with better drainage and see what happens. You're right on about the colour combinations, that's for sure.
Jodi... they seem to take a while to take off; I think the woody tubers have to get fairly large and old before they spread underground, but they seed all over heck right away (which my loose soil promotes... heavy clay probably makes it harder for them to grow seedlings). I'll often have a dozen new seedlings pop up around one plant.You might try shaking the seed heads around.
Hi there Don,
I wish we could have bluebells spreading as fast as yours! We got a couple of starts from a neighborhood gardening friend and ours are taking their own sweet time ... maybe we're too impatient, but we would love to have them in abundance in our woodland garden patch. When I was a kid they were just about my favorite spring flower (along with viola tricolor). If you do any wholesale thinning of them, we'd be happy to take the extras off your hands! :-)

BTW, we're still waiting on the snowdrops (at least most of the snow is gone now), and I think what we need is some sunny days and warmer temps to get them and the crocus going. I did see that the primroses are now uncovered, looking a bit bedraggled from spending the winter under 5' of snow, but they're green and ready to take off!
IVG... Bluebells need to settle in and grow big, woody tubers before they really start spreading. Try shaking the seed heads over some loose soil. One of these days I'll start potting up some bluebell seedlings for folks.
I'm terrible about that, too. It can be gangly and ugly for 11 months out of the year, but if a plant gives me one good month, I have a hard time eradicating it.

Plus, way I figure it, most times there's an animal of one sort or another that has a use for the plant - even if I don't.
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