SCILLA or SQUILL

P. The common bluebell is Scilla nonscripta (nutans) and is ideal for planting underneath trees. The purple-blue, pink or white flowers appear in May. Plant 6 in. deep, other species about 3 in.

The following are shorter in growth to about 4 in. S. bifolia blooms in March with star-like bright blue flowers. There are white and pink forms. In the south-west this species often blooms in early February. S. siberica also blooms in March, and is probably best described as Prussian-blue. The white form is equally lovely, though less robust; the variety Spring Beauty is taller, with rather longer stems and large blooms. S. Tubergeniana is earlier than the foregoing, being usually in bloom at the beginning of March. It is turquoise-blue with a faint line of blue down the centre of each petal.

The Spanish squill is S. hispanica (campanulata) which produces large, erect spikes with open-bill-like flowers in early May. It should be planted about 5 in. deep and is excellent for naturalising, the bulbs increasing rapidly if left undisturbed. Named varieties include Heavenly Blue, a delightful porcelain-blue colour, Mount Everest, pure white, Peach Blossom, pale pink and Queen of the Blues, purple-blue. All scillas can be increased by division in late summer.

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