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The Lyre Flower

The Lyre Flower

The Lyre Flower was referred to by a number of names in the Victorian age, Dielytra, Diclutra, Dicentra, Fumaria and Corydalis among them. Hibberd preferred ‘Lyre Flower’, simply because that was what it was first called on introduction into Britain, and Hibberd objected to any change on principle.

The Lyre Flower came originally from northern China, brought back to Britain by Robert Fortune in 1846.

It was a hardy and accommodating plant, but grew best in a deep, mellow, sandy loam with some degree of shelter. It was also susceptible to frost and strong winds.

Hibberd wrote that the absolute best specimen he had ever seen was to be found in the little front courtyard of a small dairy in Highgate, where a tuft of it grew almost four feet high and as many wide.

The Lyre Flower looked at its best when planted out with hyacinths and early tulips and tazetta narcissi within a conservatory, and was easy to manage as a pot plant. There were few pests which ever bothered it.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.

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