For those who love winter bouquets of dried flowers, or compositions with inserts from them, I think representatives of the Basil genus will be of interest (Thalictrum)... These undemanding plants are not often found in our flower beds. Basil plants belong to the buttercup family and, unlike many members of this family, have a graceful inflorescence of a large number of flowers, and some species do not have petals. The airiness of the inflorescence is given by many large stamens with light yellow anthers, the filaments of which give the color to the inflorescence. The flowers are small, collected in thyroid panicles - mauve, pink, yellow, white, lilac-purple. The smell, and most of all the pollen, attracts a large number of insects. Bees are regular visitors to the inflorescences.
Homeland - the Caucasus, Siberia, Europe, China, Japan. The following types are most suitable for growing in flower beds.
Basil (Thalictrum aquilegifolium) - the most famous species. The plant is frost-resistant, up to 1 m high. Stems are slightly leafy, gracefully branched in the upper part and bearing light inflorescences. The flowers are small, lavender. The leaves are long, petiolate, strongly dissected, openwork. Blooms in May.
Delaway Basil (Thalictrum delavayi) - the most graceful, beautiful and tall species, reaching 2 m. The leaves are large, multi-pinnate, the lobes of the leaf blade are dissected, small. The flowers are similar to small lilac bells, collected in large airy paniculate inflorescences. Blooms in August. This species is less prone to lodging and can be used outdoors.
Blue basil (Thalictrum glaucum) after flowering and fruiting, it dies off, and this happens annually. Instead, a new colony of independently living young plants appears. In May, 1–3 daughter buds with a small fibrous root system develop at the base of a flowering plant. And in the spring of next year, young ones grow from them in place of the mother plant. The number and size of these buds depends on the care of the mother plant. Despite the fact that the bush consists of independent plants, it is dense, compact and outwardly gives the impression of one multi-stem plant. Stems 60–80 cm high, purple, leaves are pinnately dissected, glaucous. The flowers are small, white-pink, collected in a thyroid inflorescence.
Basil yellow (Thalictrum flavum) - 170–180 cm high. The foliage with a strong waxy bloom has an unusual, beautiful bluish-blue color. Flowers without petals, yellow. It can lie down in heavy rain and wind, so it is better to plant it in clumps among bushes or in a place protected from the wind.
Basil plants are propagated by seeds, dividing the bush in the fall, less often in the spring. Seeds are sown in autumn, seedlings dive in spring, in the second year the plant blooms and becomes suitable for planting in a permanent place. They grow well in one place for 5-6 years, then the plants need to be renewed.
Basil are unpretentious plants that thrive on cool, moist, rich soils in dim sun or partial shade. It is in partial shade that the flowering is longer, the foliage retains its decorative effect for a long time. In the sun, the color of the inflorescences by the end of June, especially in dry weather, fades, yellow tones appear. With a lack of moisture, the smell of flowers disappears. To preserve the decorativeness of plants until late autumn, faded inflorescences should be cut off, avoiding seeding.
The unpretentiousness, decorativeness of flowers and foliage make the basil indispensable for waterlogged areas, the banks of reservoirs, shady gardens.
At the same time, basil plants are an exquisite material for arrangements, beautiful in groups and in the form of single plants.Cut inflorescences remain in water for a long time, and dried ones are suitable for winter bouquets, both together with other dried flowers, and by themselves.
"Ural gardener", No. 1, 2013 Photo: Rita Brilliantova, Konstantin Alexandrov
Photo: Rita Brilliantova, Konstantin Alexandrov