Hyacinths–Background History

Due to its great substance, earliness to flower and strong fragrance, the hyacinth is always assured of a ready welcome in the home, indeed more hyacinths in pots must be sold through florists between Christmas and early spring than any other plant. Its earliness is its great attraction, but its sturdy habit, requiring no staking in any way, makes it popular with both amateur and professional growers. And then its rich perfume, beloved in cottages during the early seventeenth century when poor sanitation demanded the use of herbs and flowers of fragrance, is still treasured in our homes during the long winter days. A single plant in a small pot in every room will give a breath of springtime throughout the house.hyacinth

It is not generally realized that the hyacinth is a native of Syria, having nothing at all to do with our native bluebell, though the first hyacinths to be introduced were of the same sky-blue colour – and it was back in 1596 that the plant was first introduced into England. That the hyacinth was known to Tudor gardeners will be a surprise to many people, and well as it will grow in this country, the production of new stock lies almost entirely in the hands of the Dutch. It is a plant that is shy to increase itself and even where bulblets are produced they take several years to reach flowering size. The requirement for building up the bulblets into flowering bulbs is a rich, deeply cultivated sandy soil and yet one with a high water content. The two rarely go together, for a deep sandy soil is generally a dry soil. In Holland, however, the water-level is such that sufficient moisture is always in easy reach of the rooting system of the bulbs. Thus, they enjoy a warm, sandy soil and at the same time the necessary moisture for the rapid development of the bulbs.

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