4 inches to 1 foot.
Flowers blue, in May and June, or in later summer.
A large family of rather low-growing plants,
more or less Alpine or mountain-loving in their
origins, with trumpet-shaped flowers of a deep
and quite distinct shade of blue; the colour has
something of the true sapphire, but there is nothing
else quite like it in nature. The kinds desirable
for the ordinary gardener are not many; the best
of all is G. acaulis, the Gentianella, flowering
in May. It will not grow everywhere, but in places
where it thrives, as much as possible should be
made of it. It prefers rather moist but thoroughly
drained soil, and generally speaking is happier
in the north of England than in the south. A good
deal may be done by mixing broken rock (limestone
for choice) amongst the soil where it is to be
planted, and by judicious watering. Good clumps
of root should be planted out between October
and February, and care taken that they are not
lifted from the ground by frost. Once established,
the less the plants are meddled with the better.
Of the other kinds of Gentian G. verna, the spring
Gentian, a low grower with bright blue flowers,
and G. septemfida, Crested Gentian, are the best.
They require the same treatment as the Gentianella.
G. lutea remains to be noticed, varying from the
family in its height, three or four feet, and
its colour, which is a clear yellow. It is a handsome
border plant, flowering in July and August. G.
pneumonanthe, the wild English Heath Gentian,
may be grown by anyone who possesses a soil of
peat and sand, where heather and harebells thrive
naturally. It bears a beautiful erect trumpet
of the inimitable blue, on wiry stalks about six
inches high, at the beginning of September.