Nature’s Perfume, Hyacinth

My memories of my Mom always involve plants and flowers. She sometimes spends her weekend wandering around botanical gardens where she picks random herbs and flowers for her collection.  As a child I often tagged along with her and she never failed to give me a little lecture about flowers.  So as I grew older I learned to love gardening and the beauty you can create out of random flowers and herbs.  I never thought I would have a green thumb until I started planting hyacinths in our garden. Their colors and exotic scent captured my attention when I was randomly checking a flower exhibit.

Hyacinths are a native flower from the eastern Mediterranean.  They grow from bulbs and are known for their heady fragrance.  The Hyacinth head is commonly used to make perfume. It can produce four to six linear leaves and one to three spikes per flower.  In most cultures the flower represents beauty and grace.  In Greek mythology a Hyacinth is a beautiful girl loved by Zephyr and Apollo.  She died in the end which causes the two gods to fight for her even in her death. In the end Apollo made a flower out of her spilled blood. Many said it was because she was so beautiful.  With so much history related to beauty of the hyacinth it was no wonder my Mom planted it generously.

As a child my mom helped me find a spot for my first gardening venture with hyacinths. We found a patch of soil that easily drains; a suitable place for this particular flower.  Although hyacinths aren’t fussy about the soil, they can’t survive without ample sun exposure and standing water.  Fall is the right season to start planting hyacinths.  When planting we made sure that the bulbs are buried 7-8 inches deep and at least 6 inches apart. For better results, we planted the bulbs with their pointed end facing up. We made sure that we watered the flower well so the roots can grow properly in Fall and eventually a full grown flower by Spring. When space isn’t enough hyacinths can also thrive in beds or containers.

When harvesting my mom gave me a few tips to keep the flower well nourished. She said to make sure I don’t cut the leaves off because they provide nutrients to the bulb. The leaves can only be removed in during late summer when the leaves turn. Planting the flowers in containers is also a good idea so you can bring them indoors when they are in full bloom. Hyacinths are a perfect decorative and fragrant flower for the inside of a home.  They provide a soothing scent; nature’s natural perfume.


Brigitte Grisanti

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