KUSA - Spring blooming bulbs bloom just when we need them to, bringing color to an awakening garden. Of the "big three" (tulips, daffodils and hyacinths), hyacinths are my favorite. They are reliable, long-lived and very fragrant.
Nearly critter-proof, they need next-to-no care. Planted in a sunny spot, they will thrive nearly indefinitely. The only thing you can do wrong is to cut off the leaves before they have withered on their own.
The hyacinth is native to southwest Asia. The bulbs have dense spikes of fragrant flowers in shades of red, blue, white, salmon, pink, violet or yellow. Double forms are also available. But, these heirlooms are difficult to find - except online.
The hyacinth has long been popular. In the 19th century, hundreds of varieties were available. Most of these have been lost.
Hyacinths are especially esteemed in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean region. In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was a beautiful youth who lost his life in a quarrel over him by the gods Apollo and Zephyrus. While playing discus with Apollo, the wind god blew Apollo's discus off course, striking Hyacinth in the head. When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. Many of our favorite flowers resulted from this sort of Mount Olympus mayhem.
Legends aside, the hyacinth springs to life every spring with its wonderful fragrance. I grow many in pots to enjoy the scent on my sunny patio in April. The bulbs can be potted and stored in a dark, cool place over winter - or planted in the ground before the soil has frozen. Your investment will pay off for many years.
Bulbs are courtesy of Tagawa Gardens.
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