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Native to the eastern Mediterranean, more specifically south Turkey to northern Israel, north-east Iran and Turkmenistan, the hyacinth is a small genus of flower plants in the Asparagaceae family.

Jug of pink hyacinths

Hyacinth are sure to look right at home in any arrangement from classic bouquets to contemporary container arrangements and in any colour for any occasion. It was originally brought to Europe in the 16th Century and was an instant favourite and has now played a major part in the floral industry for close to 500 years! It was believed the hyacinth had become extinct as a plant as it had disappeared for many years but was reintroduced by a German doctor named Leonhardt Rauwolf following his travels in Turkey in 1573. Luckily, using his samples he was able to reintroduce the hyacinth and share it with the world.

It is said that two ancient Greek gods, Apollo and Zephyr were fighting for the attention of a young Greek named Hyakinthos. In their endeavour for approval from Hyakinthos, Apollo was teaching him the art of throwing a discus. Overwhelmed with jealousy and outraged that he was being beaten in the chase for endearment, Zephyr (god of the West Wind), raised a ferocious wind, blowing the discus back at Hyakinthos who was struck and killed.

From the blood that Hyakinthos shed, a beautiful flower grew which the sun god Apollo named after the fallen young man.

To grow your own hyacinth, plant the bulbs in autumn, roughly 6-8 weeks before a frost is anticipated. Typically this is between September and October in Europe. Having prepared a hole for the bulb roughly 8 inches in depth, set the bulb down with the pointed end facing upwards and cover with soil. Space the bulbs up to 6 inches apart and ensure they are watered adequately.

The hyacinth will bloom in spring and it is essential the plant grows until the leaves die off. After blooming, their energy is stored in the bulbs for the next bloom.