Gentiana – Gentian, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

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Gentiana – Gentian

TO THE FRINGED GENTIAN

Thou blossom bright with Autumn dew,
And colored with the Heaven’s own blue,
That openest, when quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

Thou waitest late, and com’st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged year is near his end.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue-blue-as if the sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.

-WM. CULLEN BRYANT

There are almost as many
Gentians in poems and books about flowers as there are
real Gentians in the woods. Two sorts are to be found
by much hunting through United States. They are the
Closed Gentian (Gentiana Andrewsii) and the Fringed
Gentian (G. crinita). The Closed Gentian is of
interest because it blooms from September to November,
but the flowers never open, remaining in large, bud-like
form. The flower stems are IY2 feet tall and the purplish
blue flowers are borne in clusters in the axils of the
upper leaves. The plants are found growing on damp hillsides
and in meadows. The Fringed Gentian is more beautiful
and less common. It is the most modest flower of our
woods and hides itself away in the open places. The
flowers are bluish and have a delicate fringe at the
margins of the petals. Unlike the Closed Gentian, they
are borne singly upon the apex of the stems. The Gentianella
(G. acaulis) is the blue, stemless Gentian of
the Alps. The flowers are bell-shaped, large and blue.
The plants grow but 6 inches tall and bloom in Spring.
In Europe this plant is commonly used as an edging plant.

GENERAL. The Gentians are
difficult to transplant and if seed is sown, it should
be fresh, otherwise it will not grow. The Closed Gentiana
may be grown in moist meadows but they should have no
lime in the soil. The Fringed Gentiana is a biennial
which is extremely difficult to grow. If fresh seed
is obtained, sow in pots. The Gentianella is the easiest
sort to grow, requiring limestone added to the soil.
All sorts prefer partial shade.

 

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