Camassia

So neglected and yet so useful are the Camassias. Ralph Cusack, the great authority on this plant says that ‘they are one of the most beautiful and delicious of the spring-flowering bulbs’ and all who have seen this plant growing will readily endorse his opinion. They are tall-growing, ranging from 2-3 ft. and they should be grown near a hedge, wall or hurdle fencing in a position where they will receive their fair share of summer sunshine. Like several members of the Brodiaea family, several of the Camassia species are most useful for cutting.

Camassia

They are true dual-purpose plants, delightful in out-of-the-way places in the garden, even lovelier in the home. They also look most attractive when growing in short grass. Flowering in May, when the selection of flowers is limited, the Camassias should receive far more attention than they do at present Bearing spikes of variouS shades of blue or cream almost like miniature, loose-belied hyacinths and with hyacinth-like foliage, the various species look most graceful when planted together in a position sheltered from the late-spring winds.

Early October is the most suitable time for planting. They thrive in all soils provided drainage is good. Plant the bulbs 4 in. deep and 6 in. apart – no closer, for thcy will increase rapidly. They are perfectly hardy and need no winter protection nor are they worried by either slugs or birds in May. For this reason they are a highly suitable plant for the town garden. I have found that they do appreciate some coarse sand at planting-time and a small quantity of leaf mould well worked into the soil.

SPECIES

  • Camassia Cusicki. A truly lovely variety is this, producing its purple-blue flowers with their delightful golden anthers on stems 2 ft. in length. In bloom throughout the month of May. There is a lovely rose creamy white form which blooms at the same time.
  • C. Esculenta. A very free-flowering species, producing its almost navy blue flowers around June 1st, and is of compact habit. If the spikes are cut when in the bud stage they gradually open and last a considerable time in water. When established as many as a dozen spikes will appear from each clump.┬áCamassia esculenta is a hardy bulb useful for growing in any part of the garden. Each bulb produces two or three spikes of bright blue flowers 1 ft high, keeping up a display for several weeks during May and June.
  • C. Fraseri. A tall-growing variety which produces its blue star-like blooms on long stems throughout May.
  • C. Lekhtlinii. Produces tall spikes of rich cream-colour flowers during May which are most enchanting when planted with the blue-flowering species.

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