Two loaves, sell one, and with the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed thy soul
Hyacinths were soundly trounced in a recent post I read. Comments were also negative. Why, hyacinths are one of my favorite bulbs!
One of the complaints was that hyacinths do not look good in a flower bed, too formal?
Here, informally planted with emerging poppies and a bit of alyssum.
Hyacinths attract early butterflies in the garden. Here, sulphurs photographed after dark, and a dark swallowtail.
The hyacinths below are third and fourth year blooms, returning each year without attention.
The second year, blooms may be smaller. The third year they have recovered from adjusting to a new environment and often throw more than one stem. This clump is several years old. Poppies following the tulips hide the dying foliage, which takes a while to retire.
Hyacinths can be forced in water and stones, the same as paperwhite narcissi; hyacinths require a few weeks of chill first.
Right now I have hyacinth bulbs chilling in a refrigerator where no fruit is kept. Near Christmas, they will come out of chill and be potted in stones and water, some planted in ground, to bloom near Valentine's Day.
Here's a pic from when I forced lots of hyacinths for gifts, back when my 'greenhouse' was an unheated utility room with east windows.
Bulb experts often say to toss forced bulbs. I plant them out after bloom, taking care to preserve the green leaves and stem; usually they recover the second year after planting, having little to no bloom the first year.
Last year was my first time to plant Festival hyacinths, which are supposed to be similar to the old-fashioned Roman hyacinths. I can hardly wait to see them this spring.
I hope this gives you a new picture of hyacinths and their potential as garden plants and gifts. It isn't too late to buy bulbs. You may have to order them, but vendors still have them available through this month. If you don't want the trouble of chilling and planting in pots, potted hyacinths will be available in the spring, ready to bloom or blooming.
If you are writing for a British publication, use “defence,” but the American “defense” has the advantages of greater antiquity, similarity to the words from which it was derived, and consistency with words like “defensible.” The pronunciation used in sports which accents the first syllable (“DEE-fense”) should not be used when discussing military, legal, or other sorts of defense.
- Common Errors in English Usage by Paul Brian.