Photo by Mark Kane
An early riser, Siberian squill blooms right after snowdrops. From a small bulb rise three or four strap-like leaves and several dainty flower stalks that branch to nodding blue flowers with anthers that are darker blue. You have to lie down, chest first, to see the flowers from below. The sight, with the sky for a backdrop, repays embracing the cold, wet ground.
My patch started from ten bulbs that have divided into many more over the last ten years. When the leaves appear, they make a broad green thicket and the flowers that follow almost touch from plant to plant to make a blue canopy that is visible from across the garden.
This is USDA Zone 5 and the bulbs have been flawlessly hardy. By the time the flowers wane, there are still no leaves on the nearby honeylocust to shade the plants, so plenty of sunlight refuels the bulbs. I think the plants have more flower stems and flowers now than they did years ago.
There are other forms of this squill, including a white-flowered cultivar called ‘Alba’ and a deep-blue cultivar called ‘Spring Beauty.' There are also other squills: Scilla bifolia (pale lilac-blue flowers), S. mischtshenckoana (large-flowered, pale blue) and S. peruviana (flowers are violet stars with yellow anthers, gathered in a sphere the size of a softball, Zone 7).
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