Monday, February 17, 2014

Being Seasonal.....Let Me Introduce You - Hyacinth.

     This is a small bulbous flowering plant, member of the family Asparagaceae. Or let's just say hyacinths. Origins - eastern Mediterranean (from south Turkey to northern Israel). The plant grows from bulbs, each producing about four to six linear leaves . Should be planted in fall (  this is usually during September and October in the North, and October and November in the South ) and bloom in spring. For outdoor planting - 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected, plant bulbs 4 inches deep and a minimum of 3 inches apart. Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up, and after planting and covering it with soil, press firmly and water thoroughly. Better keep hyacinths watered during dry spells in the fall. When planting for indoor, place them in containers with drainage holes, keep in a dark place at temperatures above freezing, for about 12 weeks, so roots can develop. When shoots reach 2 inches, increase light and temperature gradually.

      Be careful when watering, avoid wetting the shoots. In the 18th century the flower - Common Hyacinth had been so popular in the Netherlands that over 2000 cultivars  were cultivated. It can be spotted in shades of blue, orange, pink, white, violet , red and yellow and has a single dense spike with tubular-bell-shape. Loves indirect sunlight and are to be moderately watered. Grow and develop in any well-drained fertile soil. Important detail you might not know is that Hyacinth's bulbs contain oxalic acid, which means they are poisonous.

Another interesting fact is that it is used in the Half-Seen table when setting for the Persian New Year. People revered and loved  Hyacinths not only for their their vibrant colors but  its sweet, lovely, intoxicating fragrance. In my top 3 of favourite spring-flowering bulbs. Victorians, for example, carefully massed them in low beds, planting in rows of one color each. Because of growing in the ground, they are excellent  for forcing in containers and some are available for early flowering indoors. After blooming in spring, cut the flower stalks but allow the leaves to die naturally. Hyacinths are sometimes associated with rebirth.

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