March Heirloom Blues #3 Bouquet

Suzanne Lewis

Eugene, United States

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What can I say except these antique hyacinths are way beyond the pale and no photograph can ever do them justice. Elegant florets on graceful columns, colored in many gradations of beautiful blues and purples—sometimes pearlescent or sparkling—out-of-this world fragrance, and personal histories to spin the brain. ‘Marie’ (1860) and ‘King of the Blues’ (1863) are as old as America’s Civil War; I’d like to think they brought some comfort, during and after. ‘Grace Darling’ honors the young daughter of an English lighthouse keeper. In 1838, the pair rowed a small boat through rough seas to rescue shipwrecked passengers when the Forfarshire foundered on rocks during the stormy night. By day’s end, the Darling Family would save thirteen lives—and Victorian England would celebrate Grace as a heroine as would William Wordsworth in his poem . All the heirloom hyacinths came from Old House Gardens in MI, which is just about the only place you can still purchase these lovely, authentic survivors of times-gone-by. I grew them all in pots and find them generally as tough-as-nails. Also included are Hyacinths ‘Bismarck’, double ‘Dreadnought’, ‘Grand Monarque’, ‘Menelik’, and ‘Queen of the Blues’ in addition to small touches of Muscari latifolium and wood hyacinth.

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