Faves: Small bulbs, big impact

Hey, Sarah, that lovely little bulb you have colonizing that tough spot beside your front steps is Puschkinia scilloides, the striped squill. We’ve been looking at it for some time wondering if it was some kind of scilla (I really prefer the Latin name to the common squill; Scilla siberica). In fact, it’s a cousin of the scilla – “scilloides” means “scilla-like”.

Another cousin is this one: Glory of the Snow, Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’. It has been growing reliably, thriving even, and dare I say it (shhhh… not too loudly) multiplying in the very toughest spot in my front garden. It’s a small, steep, sandy slope, choked with tree roots that is dry as a bone as soon as the Norway maples leaf out.

At a garden club meeting on Thursday night, I heard Chionodoxa described as “underused.” I plan to make up for that by planting many more. Anything that survives in dry shade under Norway maples (albeit with morning sun) deserves special notice.

I’m particularly interested in finding the gentian blue variety, Chionodoxa sardensis. Got to add that to my Lust List.

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