Hyacinths: Beautiful, Festive and Fragrant
The moment you smell the intoxicating fragrance of Hyacinths, you can’t help but being transported to a spring garden full of beautiful blooms, where butterflies are flitting from flower to flower and where your heart is immediately filled with happiness and sunshine. But where do these delightful flowers come from? And why are they called Hyacinths?
The beautiful youth Hyacinthus
Greek Mythology tells us about a beautiful young man named Hyacinthus who attracted the love of the god Apollo. When Apollo was teaching the young man how to throw the discus, he accidentally killed Hyacinthus. In other versions Zephyrus (the West Wind) was so jealous of Hyacinthus giving attention to Apollo and not to him, that he blew at the discus so it would kill Hyacinthus. When Hyacinthus died, the grief-stricken Apollo did not allow Hades (the underworld) to claim the youth. Instead he created a flower, the Hyacinth, from his spilled blood.
Although we associate bulbs with spring and early summer, it’s been a long-standing tradition to force Hyacinths to grow around Christmas so they can pay us a summery surprise visit in the dark days of winter.
In other ages and cultures, the hyacinth is also associated with festivals, which just like Christmas are meant to celebrate new life.
The Spartans named their month Hyacinthius after the beautiful young man and celebrated a festival in his honor. The festival lasted three days, one day of mourning for the death of Hyacinthus, and the last two celebrating his rebirth as Apollo Hyakinthios.
For the celebration of Nowrooz, the Persian New year, a hyacinth is used in the traditional table setting.
Origin and planting
Today’s Hyacinth flower originates from the eastern Mediterranean and Persia. It is a distant cousin of the asparagus, and it blooms at the same time as daffodils and some early varieties of tulips.
It’s best to plant Hyacinths in early fall so they have enough time to grow a big root system before winter truly sets in. Pick a spot with full sun to the north and light shade to the south, using rich, well- draining soil. For the best effect you want to plant the bulbs about 5 inches deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. And good news: they’re deer resistant.
A rainbow of hyacinths
The ‘standard’ hyacinths in white, pink and blue, with their fat florets and amazing perfume will certainly be a hit in your garden. Look at these beauties:
But did you know Hyacinths come in other gorgeous colors too? Why not try these new and exciting varieties for next spring?
The Yellow Queen
The salmon Gipsy Queen
The very special black Dark Dimension
DutchGrown is dedicated to giving you the best spring garden possible, so do not hesitate to order our high-quality hyacinth bulbs in your favorite color. Plant them this fall for a breath-taking display come March or force them in October for a snippet of spring in December!