As winter gives way to spring, vibrant bursts of colour appear across Cambridge - early flowering bulbs are heralding the arrival of longer, brighter days ahead.
Our March plant of the month is a wonderful example.
The delicate and striking Scilla Siberica, also known as ‘Siberian Squill’ or ‘Spring Beauty’, has brilliant blue bell-shaped flowers which daintily and elegantly nod away in the breeze. Hardy, unfussy and low maintenance, this beautiful little plant is extremely versatile and can be incorporated into even the smallest Cambridge garden; it will happily grow in containers, borders, beneath trees or even incorporated into lawns.
Photo credit: wholesalebulbs.nl
Underplanted beneath shrubs, the delicately shaped flowers and glossy deep green leaves of this plant will add stunning colour to your borders. Naturalised in lawns (best done by scattering bulbs and planting where they land), Spring Beauty multiplies and appears in greater numbers each year, providing gorgeous swathes of blue to enjoy. It's a versitle plant that's at home in a traditional cottage garden, as well as working well in contemporary garden designs.
Spring Beauty will also happily grow in well-drained pots or containers, flowering earlier than in the ground. A display by the front door can create an explosion of colour and give your house the "Doors of Cambridge" look that is so often seen on Instagram.
photo credit: wild-flowers-of-europe.blogspot
Combining with white or pale-yellow crocuses in a container will provide a glorious display of contrasting colour. Why not try planting Narcissus Thalia (our April 2020 Plant of the Month) beneath Spring Beauty? The pure white daffodils appear slightly later than Spring beauty, prolonging your display without taking up any additional space – an advantage in city gardens where space can be at a premium!
Spring Beauty is native to south west Russia and the broader Black Sea region, so it is very well suited to the drier and warmer summers that we often have in Cambridge and across East Anglia. It thrives in any well-drained soil and is happiest in a sunny or partially shady spot. An added benefit is that the bulbs are squirrel and rodent proof, and the flowers are great for bees.
It is no surprise that Scilla siberica has been awarded the prestigious RHS ‘Award of Garden Merit’.