Grape hyacinths, even Muscari armeniacum, don’t seem to last here for more than a couple of years in the garden. It is probably our soggy winter conditions and clay soil that does for them, but I do love their wonderful blue spikes at this time of year when all round seems to be yellow and so I now usually grow them in small terracotta pots. That way I can move the pots around, bring them in and dress them up as required.
Over time I’ve found that the icy blue of Muscari armeniacum ‘Valerie Finnis’ is my favourite, so I grow the lovely Valerie in quantity every year. Those bells looks so demure, reminding me of little puff sleeves on the dress of a fairy tale princess.
But this year I decided to try Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ too, because I was keen to sample the scent that Avon Bulbs descibe as a ‘ heavenly banana-tinged perfume’.
Well, the perfume coming from the pot is strong indeed. However, most of the scent is coming from a larger white imposter in the middle of the pot and it is hard to sniff out any banana notes in the meantime.
The white muscari smells of pomanders, a mixture of the scent of carnations and musk.
So what the devil is this cuckoo in the nest?
Well, it turns out to be Muscari muscarimi (syn. M. ambrosiacum) I believe and as you can tell from the synonym, it is well known for its delicious sweet musky scent. I am guessing that the bulb is marginally larger than M. ‘Golden Fragrance’, since I placed it in the middle of the arrangement.
What luck though! I am so pleased to have ended up trying two such sweetly perfumed spring bulbs and next year there will definitely be a full pot of M. muscarimi to grace the house. Just imagine the impact of the scent of say ten spikes of those wafting about a room. Heaven.
So I am happy with this cuckoo, but bulbs do seem to be particularly prone to mix-ups. Last year one of the tulips I’d ordered for a three-way combination was completely wrong and ruined the display.
Have you had any surprises like this, good or bad?