From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Muscari and An Unknown

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



Some folks call these little spring flowers "grape hyacinths". I call them "muscari" because I first learned their name from flower catalogs rather than from talking to people. Muscari is the Latin name for this flower's family, and it's a more melodic and exotic name than grape hyacinth, in my opinion.

I think these are muscari armeniacum, though they seem a bit more purple than many of the photographs I see online. The ones that grow on our hillside are closer to the purple-blue color of the muscari in this photo.

These muscari were planted by the lady who lived here before us. I think she planted a forsythia bush and daffodils and muscari all at the same time, hoping for a little spring color. As time has passed, the bush has grown large and now the flowers come up under its draping branches. I have dug out some of the daffodils and moved them, but I've never tried to dig out the muscari. Some have decided on their own to move out, and they're climbing the hillside.

Some of the green foliage in the photo is grass and some of it is leaves of a small white spring flower that one long-time local resident calls "snowdrops". I think that's an old-time local name. They are different than the flowers called snowdrops on horticulture websites. One of the Mennonite ladies calls them "Star of Bethlehem".

Whatever their real name is, they have naturalized on our 2 acres to the point that I consider them a nuisance. There are hundreds of tiny bulbs in each clump. It has taken me 15 years to get most of them out of my vegetable garden and flower beds.

When I first started digging them out of my areas of cultivation, I tenderly transplanted them thinking they must be a precious little wildflower. Now I callously toss the bulbs out of my garden onto the lawn where the sun can shrivel them up. It's amazing the changes that can occur in one's thinking over the years.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.