English bluebells are an urban myth!!!!

geoforce(z7a SE PA)May 11, 2009

Either that or a vast fraud. I have purchased Hyacinthoides non-scripta from 4 'reputable' dealers and at 3 different nurseries over the past 5 years. This spring I notice that I have added another group of H. hispanica to my garden as I have in the past. Not a single bulb of all these purchases have had "flowers appearing on one side of the stem and a nodding floral stem". None either have any notable fragrance. I'll try again this fall but i doubt I'll have better luck.

George

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

In general, English bluebells are not recommended for the southeast (though you are technically just north of the Southeast). I'd advise you to give hyacinthoides hispanica a try. They are beautiful, though I can't say if they are fragrant. They like some shade, and they naturalize well, even in summer dry shade.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 5:20PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

I really know about H. hispanica and it truly is lovely here. All these misses on non-scripta over the years are but additions to the thousands of spanish bluebells I already have naturalized in my shaded lawn areas.

I would truly like to try the true English bluebells though if I can ever find some.

George

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:21PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Are these English Bluebells? I planted the bulbs and they've been growing and spreading on the edge of my orchard under an apple tree for many years. I always called them Wood Hyacinths but now I wonder.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 5:53PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

They look like the Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica). The scapes do not droop, and the bells have more flare than the English ones.

George

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:42PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

Here is a pic of English bluebells that I took while in Ireland recently. I'm hoping to get some for my garden too. They grow in everyone's garden in Ireland - a standard along with English Primrose.
From IrelandTrip2009

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:53AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I've never tried to grow any of them, but the ones from Ireland do not seem to have drooping scapes and the flower petals flair to how does one really know what they have for sure? Just curious :o) Dan

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:01AM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

Dan

My question also. I look at all the pictures of them and read the reference books about them and have NEVER seen one which fully matches the official description. I have been gardening for over 50 years and in my memory I can recall seeing only 1 clump of bluebells with nodding scapes, and none where I would say the flowers were only on 1 side of the scape. Also I can find little if any fragrance in them though I have a rather sensitive nose for most flowers.

????

Guess I'll never know.

George

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:40PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I vaguely remember a similar discussion on spanish vs english bluebells, I don't know if it was on this forum.....

It seems like even in England it's not as easy as you would think to find true English bluebells. In some areas they have been hybridizing with the more vigorous spanish type for decades and the result is a mix. Maybe you need to embark on a quest to England to find the real thing and get some back to the US. Just watch it, I believe they are protected there!

I found a short video on the spread of the spanish bluebells through the UK if you are interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: video clip of the 'spanish invasion'

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 11:18PM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)

My understanding is that English bluebells won't survive in our climate.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 2:39PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I was looking for pics on-line and the ones they call English bluebells look very different.......long, arching scapes with flowers on only one side.......they are offered on various sites from the UK, but that would be insanely expensive to pay for a phyto, etc. assuming they export. I have some professional colleagues in England, but unlikely they can ship legally to the U.S. I think they can take our cold from what I read, but they need to be moist for the summer which requires a hose here.......seems like a quest for someone :o) Dan

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 4:53PM
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