The first Camassia to open in my garden are the Quamash – a petite flower, compared to the other four Camassia species. It also has the deepest blue flowers. Camassia are native to various parts of North America – usually the western part of the continent but there is one species (C. scilloides) with a native range in the east, including up to Ontario. The bulbs are small and I’ve been planting them in largish groupings, in less manicured parts of the yard and garden. In nature they prefer meadows that are moist to wet but they can also survive our dry summers.
These are small bulbs and relatively inexpensive – definitely worth planting one or many dozen. They’re appearing just as Hyacinths, most tulips and daffodils are fading and provide a dash of intrigue, a sprinkling of low to the ground, breathtaking colour that succeeds in drawing your eyes from the showy shrubs and trees now in bloom. All this, plus the bulbs are edible and were once an important part of indigenous peoples’ diet and trade.