The reason to grow Muscari armeniacum 'Valerie Finnis'
over other grape
hyacinths is that it has a surprising attribute - a wonderful scent,
reminiscent of an old-fashioned sweet shop. I grow it in a shallow clay pot
(alpine pan), so I can bring it to London and have it flowering on my
balcony table in late winter, but it is as easy in a sunny, well-drained
border as other muscari.
The name commemorates a great plantswoman, the late Lady Scott, nee Finnis,
who lived in the Dower House at Boughton, the Northamptonshire home of the
Duke of Buccleuch, with her husband, Sir David, also an enthusiastic
gardener who reached the age of 99, and her pugs. Their open days were a
magnet for gardeners from miles around, and as a student I helped on the
plant stalls a couple of times. She took the photographs in my first book
The Startling Jungle. Z4.