Posts Tagged ‘Fritillaria’

Friday, November 18, 2011

Out of the East

Tulipa biflora bulbs

These small bulbs of Tulipa biflora, a species native to the Southern Balkans and Southeastern Russia, are to be planted today in Cuxa garden, the only one of our three gardens in which  post-medieval plants are grown. The tulip did not reach Europe until the sixteenth century.  Photograph by D. Larkin

Tulips, spring-blooming crocuses, winter aconites, fritillarias, and other bulbous plants native to Asia came too late to Europe to find a home in the medieval plant collections in Bonnefont and Trie gardens, but they do have an honored place in Cuxa cloister garden. Cuxa has been the main ornamental garden for the Museum since 1938, and has always included both modern and medieval plants in order to provide a continuous display from early spring until late fall. Read more »

Friday, April 8, 2011

Checkered History

fritillaria-meleagris_detail

Guinea-hen flower (Fritillaria meleagris) blooming in Bonnefont garden; both the common name and the botanical name of this European flowering bulb refer to the fancied resemblance of the checkered bell to the plumage of the African guineafowl (Numidia meleagris). Photograph by Corey Eilhardt. See full image.

Of the facultie of these pleasant floures there is nothing set down in antient or later Writers, but [they] are greatly esteemed for the beautifying of our gardens, and the bosoms of the beautifull.

—”Of Turkie or Ginnie-Hen Floure” from The Herbal or Generall Historie of Plants

The English names of this curious flowering bulb were derived from the resemblance of its distinctive markings to those of the African guineafowl, imported into Europe from Turkey. John Gerard’s remarks clearly indicate that he knew the plant only as a rare and choice ornamental introduced into English flower gardens, including his own. He considered their native country to be France, where he knew them to grow wild near Orleans and Lyons. Read more »

Friday, November 21, 2008

Forced Bulbs: Beauty Out of Season

Forced bulbs at The Cloisters Crocus chrysanthus Narcissus tazzetta

Above, from left to right: Forced bulbs in coldframes at The Cloisters; Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’; Narcissus tazetta ‘Inbal,’ (paperwhites) in Cuxa Cloister.

Every year, by the time February approaches I have the winter doldrums and the beauty of spring is long forgotten. The days become shorter, darker, and extremely colder. It is at this time that my senses need to be reminded why I ever decided to become a gardener. Forced spring bulbs during the winter months provide that reminder wonderfully. Just when I think there is no possible way to endure another day of winter, the first pot of forced paperwhites, Narcissus tazetta, is unveiled at The Cloisters.

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