Having car troubles (again) and staying home I decided to follow the saying of making lemonade from the lemons I got. Being quite crispy outside, making lemonade didn’t feel quite right, but after I got ready a few seed packages for the upcoming Seedex, I realized that a blue one might do me good.
So here’s what I prepared:
Once upon a time there was a small nursery in Germany called Frei Nursery, after its owner name Hans Frei. Among many other plants he grew lots of gentians, and one year, he sold some seeds to a large seed company. Afterwards, no one lived happily ever after… These days we enjoy in cultivation, most probably, different selections of his original Gentiana angustifolia ‘Frei’. This is a large blooming selection that floats around in the nursery trade under many different name combinations: G. angustifolia hybrids, Frei hybrids or simply Frei. To add to the blue blur, there is also a named Gentiana acaulis ‘Max Frei’.
Both G. acaulis and G. angustifolia are among the most prized big flowered alpine, stemless gentians. They are very similar; the main identifiable difference being in the shape and length of the intracalycine membrane (the thin area between the calyx lobes). In cultivation, G. acaulis enjoys an acidic substrate with very good drainage (in nature is found on silicaceous rocks), while G. angustifolia is a bit more ‘relaxed’ when it comes to the garden growing conditions as it tolerates lime very well. Both of them are making for a very good blue lemonade anyway…
Alpine gentians available in Ontario, unfortunately, only at Lost Horizons Nursery and Wrightman Alpines.