Saturday, March 31, 2007

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum, is a bulb with a simple five-pointed white flower, but not everything that is beautiful belongs in the garden. It is listed as an invasive species in Indiana and it sure has invaded the Tame Garden at GSP as seen in this partial view of the garden. That is NOT grass; it is SoB foliage.
It propagates through the dispersion of numerous bulblets surrounding a larger bulb, some smaller than a grain of rice. Cultivation in the Tame Garden has dispersed these bulblets throughout the beds.

Research by several land grant colleges has shown that herbicides are not effective, because of its waxy foliage. The recommendation to remove these bulbs from the garden, which crowd out other spring flowers, is total replacement of the soil, which is not a viable option for us as we do not have the staff and funding required. So in the spring of 2006, we tried to dig up the bulbs in the west arbor bed. (It took two weeks of intensive labor.)
This spring showed a marked reduction in the bulbs, although numerous tiny bulbs sprouted. We are digging these up to see if we can eradicate this invasive bulb through our labors.

2 comments:

Kylee said...
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Kylee said...

I happen to love these, so if you have some large bulbs (blooming size) that you could save for me, please do! Mom and I will be making a visit soon. When would be the best time bloom-wise, to come?