Flower of the Month for April: French Roman Hyacinth

Long, long ago and far, far away a delightful bulb was planted as a welcome to the coming of spring.  It is not known when or who began to force hyacinths but suffice it to say that this turned into a very popular hobby.

I first became aware of the beauty of the wild French Roman Hyacinth, as opposed to the modern Dutch hybrids that are much more popular today, when I began volunteering in the Eudora Welty Garden several years ago.

The blue blooming variety is more prominent but Miss Welty also had the pretty pink…

French Roman Hyacinth

The bloom is less compact that the those of the hybrid varieties but one plant will usually shoot up several flower stalks.  The flowers appear around the first of February and last for several weeks.

so pretty and the fragrance is heavenly…

French Roman Hyacinth

there are several clumps in the median OPP…

French Roman Hyacinth

Back in the days of the French Court, Madame de Pompadour helped to promote the flower’s popularity.  On the record, in 1759 she had no less than 200 hyacinths grown “on glasses” during the winter.  Not only did she use them for bouquets in the palaces but was known for tucking them into the plunging necklines of her courtly gowns!

 

My friend Lee has several nice specimens…

French Roman Hyacinth

Miss Welty’s drawing for John Robinson as a Valentine card has always been a favorite of mine…

French Roman Hyacinth

My garden does not contain any of these yet but I am on a mission to add them in come fall.  They are not necessarily the easiest things to find and so if any of you would like to “pass along” I would be thrilled and happy to make a trade of anything in the garden here!

I’ll even come and dig for myself…

French Roman Hyacinth

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