This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The common American names of this plant are, Quamash, Wild Hyacinth, Squill. It is a most beautiful plant, especially when seen in large masses. It is quite as gay as the Hyacinthus nonscriptus, or Bluebell of English plantations; and every one knows what a gem that is, though so plentiful as to make it not properly appreciated. Moreover, this plant is larger in all its parts than the Bluebell, and naturally shows a disposition to adapt itself to quite a variety of conditions. I have seen great grand masses of it, rising stoutly above all the other vegetation of a rich open pasture, and gathered admirable specimens growing beneath big old Black Walnut-trees.
This year at least the Quamash has not budded very freely about here, but I would not like to say that it is always and everywhere so backward about reproducing itself. Though a common American plant, I am pretty certain that it is not abundant in the gardens of the old country. It certainly deserves to be introduced plentifully, and would form a valuable addition to any collection of hardy bulbs. Blossoms open early in May.
I promise myself a trip some day to the very imperfectly explored mountains of Kentucky, and amongst the rich, rare, and may be undescribed wild-flowers of those parts I hope to see a good deal likely to interest the readers of the 'Gardener.' Not far from Lexington is the Kentucky river, along the wild margins of which Cypripediums and other treasures are said to grow.
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. John Duncan.