Worms and Flowers

A Tale of Two Hyacinths

Posted in Flowers by Lzyjo on March 22, 2009

Hyacinths are so common in gardens they have reached a point of mundanity.  The Common Dutch Hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis, comes in nearly every shade of the rainbow, with over 2,000 cultivars developed in the 18th Century Netherlands alone. Flower spikes can contain over forty individual fragrant flowers.

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The Common Hyacinth has a long history, tracing its roots, (no pun intended) back to Eurasia where Persians used it in New Year’s celebrations held during the Spring Equinox. Since its earliest incarnations, the fragrant hyacinth has been a symbol of spring and rebirth.

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Another garden favorite that is perhaps equally prevalent, but less loved, is the Hyacinths’ tiny cousin, The Grape Hyacinth, aka, Muscari. Both bulbs are in the Family Hyacinthaceae, but in separate genuses. Muscari, like the common hyacinth, is of Eurasian ancestry.  There are at least forty species of Muscari, including Muscari armeniacum, which is the most widely grown. The genus is named for their characteristic musky perfume.

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While hyacinths are common, they are also fragrant icons of spring that are moderately resistant to rodents and deer, due to bitter-tasting alkaloid compounds in the bulbs, which make them good choices even in gardens with rodent problems, like mine.

Most of my information came from Wikipedia.

Grape Hyacinth

Hyacinth

Pest Resistant Bulbs

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6 Responses

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  1. ourfriendben said, on March 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    Your hyacinth is gorgeous, lzyjo! And we love our cheerful grape hyacinths here. Now, about that rodent problem: Surrounded by farms as we are, we always had rodent problems too until we had sufficient numbers of indoor and outdoor cats. I still think 8 cats/acre outside and 2 inside is ideal, but we currently have just 3 outdoor cats and we haven’t had a single mouse all winter, much less any outdoor rodent issues. Worth considering!

  2. lzyjo said, on March 22, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    Thank you! I love them too, a beautiful shade of blue. Our doggie just loves digging for the moles, but he’s only caught one in over a year! Not very effective! He rooks at any noise he thinks is a mouse. All I have to say is “raton” and he goes and checks the hot water heater cupboard where they can come in. It’s very funny. There are some stray/wild/barn cats. There is one from down the street. She runs away to have kittens because there are kids at her house that make her feel uncomfortable. She caught and killed a rabbit and brought it back to feed her kittens in our shed. OUUUU! So gross. There is also a huge orange tom cat who patrols the area. I’m sure he helps keep the population in check.

  3. Jen said, on March 23, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    This is going to sound weird, but I sometimes throw doggie droppings over where I’ve planted the bulbs. I really think it keeps the squirrels away. Maybe some fertilzer benefit too. I can’t say the squirrels are gone, but I am getting more flowers since I got the dog 🙂

    Those flowers are so pretty – I’m expecting some shortly. The color of that hyacinth is delicate.

  4. Gururaj said, on March 23, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    Wow! The white hyacinths with pink in them are beautiful. Somehow makes me think of ice cream! Lovely. I should get them too. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  5. lzyjo said, on March 24, 2009 at 8:29 AM

    I’m so glad we don’t have squirrels! There aren’t enough trees on the farm for them, but boy do I hate them from other places I’ve lived where they wreaked havoc in my garden. I tried all kinds of stuff, hot pepper spray, hot pepper powder, and who knew I just needed to have the dog curl by the garden?

  6. lzyjo said, on March 24, 2009 at 8:31 AM

    They are pretty easy and very pretty. At first I thought nothing was going to come up, but suddenly there they were!


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