Monday, March 18, 2013

Hyacinth Lover

Delft Blue Hyacinths
(Not an Heirloom)
This hybridized Hyacinth is available just about everywhere.

Are you a Hyacinth Lover? I have to say I think these are just the prettiest flowering bulbs on the planet. But, here's a sad, sad fact...

Brightly blooming and oh, so fragrant Hyacinths are being hybridized to extinction.

At one time, Hyacinths were more popular than Tulips. And, for good reason. They bloom longer, they're much hardier, and they fill your spring garden with an intoxicating, sweet perfume.

Rare Hyacinth Bulbs:
Old House Gardens is the coolest shop. They specialize in heirloom bulbs, even telling a little bit of history about the where's, when's and why's of how these lovely flowers got their start.

General Kohler: Born 1878
The oldest, surviving double Hyacinth.

Marie: Born 1860.
One of the rarest. Now considered 'commercially extinct.'

Gypsy Queen: Born 1927.
Naturalizes 'effortlessly' in dry, southwest gardens.

Hollyhock Hyacinth: Born 1936
Blooms later in spring than most commercial Hyacinths.

Curing the Winter Blues..
At about $1.00 a bulb (for commercially available Hyacinths) there's no reason to short change yourself. I usually purchase a couple dozen of these and store them in the 'frig. Hyacinth bulbs are easily 'forced.' Meaning we trick them into thinking it's spring by keeping them in a cool dark place. In winter, after 12 weeks of cold storage, forced Hyacinth bulbs will happily bloom in a sunny window.


Janie said...

I didn't know so much hybridization was going on, to the detriment of the original versions. I do love hyacinths.

Snowcatcher said...

One of my very favorites! Thank you for the information. I had no clue. I probably have nothing but hybrids. But oh, how I love them. Now I know I can stock up on some bulbs and force them in the middle of winter when I need some blooming joy!

Wally said...

I'm not sure if you've left on your holiday, but I hope you have a great time!

Melospiza said...

Oh, how interesting! I have always loved the smell of hyacinths, but get turned off by the plastic-flower vibe the typical hybrid gives off. I'm going to have to explore some of these older varieties and see if I can find something that makes my heart light up.

Lona said...

That is an interesting fact Kate I did not know. I do love hyacinths in the garden and their wonderful fragrance. Some of mine are just starting to get buds. Yeah! for any color. :)

troutbirder said...

They are gorgeous but for some reason I haven't had great success.