Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Hyacinthus orientalis (commonly; hyacinth, garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth), is a plant familiar to most gardeners. From the family Asparagaceae, Hyacinth’s originated along the coast of Turkey, brought west by the Greeks and Romans. They were introduced to Europe in the 16th Century and are now widely cultivated everywhere in thet temperate due to its strongly fragrant flowers. These appear exceptionally early in the season but can be forced to flower at Christmas time as an indoor plant where they are less vulnerable to wind and weather. Much like marmite you either love or hate them. They could be seen as stumpy and possessing little elegance, however they do provide a lot of colour and a phenomenal smell. This rich scent is highly praised by plant enthusiasts and has also been used as perfume for many centuries.

Photo credit: Paul Hunter, Flora Street Walkway

Hyacinth orientalis is ancient Greek, named by Apollo after Hyakinthos. Hyakinthos was a young man Apollo was teaching to throw the discus. Hyakinthos is said to have been killed by Zephyr (God of the west wind) in a rage of jealousy as he blew the discus back at him which resulted in his death. Flowers were supposed to spring from the blood of the dead Hyakinthos. Orientalis means from the East. Hyakinthos from Turkey, which was at this time considered far enough East to warrant the name.

More recently the name or the perfume has been used in prose by TS Elliot, Rabbie Burns and who could forget Keeping Up Appearances and the main character Hyacinth Bucket! 

Photo credit: Karen Oliver, Flora Street Walkway

Where to find it?

Hyacinths can be planted to great effect if they are tightly packed in beds of hundreds of individual plants. Hyacinths can bloom in March and April with a glorious display of reds, yellows, purples, blues, peaches, whites and more. Our bulbs have been in flower during April this year, but this varies depending on weather. Along the Greenway we have a pink flowering cultivar ‘Lady Derby’ planted in isolated clusters throughout the Greenway. In amongst them are the complimentary winter and spring flowering bulbs. So watch the space.

Photo by Karen Oliver, Dixon Playing Fields 

Be Part of it…

With the temperatures slowly increasing we are sure no-one will need any encouragement to get outside to explore and enjoy the Connswater Community Greenway. We look forward to any images you want to send in.