Plant of the month – April 2018 – Muscari

Order:                   Asparagales

Family:                  Asparagaceae

Subfamily:            Scilloideae

Genus:                  Muscari

Common Name:   Grape Hyacinth

Type:                      Perennial bulb

Soil:                       Chalk, clay, sand, loam

Ph:                         Acid, alkaline, neutral

Aspect:                  Full sun / partial shade

Propagation:         Seed of bulb division

Native to:               Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Asia

It is always nice to start the gardening season with a new obsession.

For the spring of 2018 I present you the Muscari!

I never really noticed Muscari before. A couple of years ago I was given a clump of the Muscari in-a-cute-wicker-basket variety. As I used it to adorn my dining room table, I got to gaze at it quite a bit. Day after day, it went from “Meh!” to “It’s actually quite cute” to “I like it” to “I have to paint this”… Good progress. When it faded I planted it out and forgot about it. This year it suddenly exploded. There is Muscari all over the garden and I love it. It is also loved by bees, which is always a good speciality to have on your CV if you’re a plant and you wish to live in my garden.

The name Muscari derives from the Latin word ‘muschos’, meaning ‘musk’, referring to the flower’s strong scent. When I read that I went to the garden to check, because I had never noticed any perfume emanating from my table display… I had to go down on all four to get to Muscari level (roses are a lot more cooperative when it comes to getting a sniff), so while I was down there I took some photos. The smell is similar to hyacinth, albeit a less overpowering version.

Although Muscari is not a truly native plant, it has been cultivated in the UK since 1576. The Muscari genus was formally established by Scottish botanist Philip Miller in 1754. It is now widely naturalised and is by many considered to deserve its “native” status.

Of course I wasn’t able to stick to the common species… I had to find out about fancy ones. There are about 40 of them. I bought Muscari latifolium “Grape Ice”. The bottom flowers are dark purple, moving up to blue, then green, topped up with a tuft of white sterile florets. Let’s hope it spreads as easily as Muscari neglectum.


I haven’t painted it yet, but I have prepared a drawing of Muscari neglectum, so hopefully it will happen soon…


Happy gardening!

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7 Responses to Plant of the month – April 2018 – Muscari

  1. jennifer says:

    Hi Sandrine I have just found you on You Tube, so shall be a regular follower now.

  2. Julia Cooper says:

    The common grape hyacinths seem to spread like weeds but the newer hybrids do not on the whole but you might be lucky. I have masses of common ones mixed up with primroses, the remains of the daffodils, and even amongst the day lilies and tulips.

    • Sandrine says:

      Hi Julia! The Muscari look really lovely with the wild primroses… The blue and pale yellow look so fresh together.

  3. Ann says:

    I have some white Muscari and some deep purple ones too in my garden. They are so pretty! I think I got the bulbs from Crocus website.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful drawing.

  4. Anni says:

    Sandrine I love your drawing and I love Muscari – beautiful blue

  5. Elaine McKinney says:

    Ooooh! Can’t wait to see you paint those blues!! Our Grape Hyacinths haven’t even thought about popping their heads out of the soil yet here on the East Coast of USA (Connecticut), so I have a little time to prepare. Great idea, Sandrine!!

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