Winter may have its charms, but a hint of spring is more than welcome by now. And the Garden Plants of the Month for February can provide it. These potted spring bulbs offer an eruption of colour, fragrance and energy. So get to know hyacinths, daffodils and grape hyacinths.
Pot Hyacinths offer endless possibilities for quickly bringing colour to your early spring garden. The grower has got the plant completely ready to shine in your garden – it’s just a matter of planting it in the soil or placing the flowers in bowls and containers. Before you know it, your view will then be coloured white, blue, yellow, pink, orange, red or purple, accompanied by long narrow green leaves. There are single and double flowered Hyacinths and there are multiflora varieties whereby several stems grow from a single bulb. Hyacinths grow to an average height of 25cm and flower in March and April.
The Hyacinth is a bulb plant from the asparagus family which originates from the eastern Mediterranean region, from central Turkey to Lebanon. The plant has been around for a very long time, and was first written about 4000 years ago. Traders brought the Hyacinth to Europe in the 16th century and there are now more than 2000 varieties. The biggest difference from the wild Hyacinth is that the cultivated version has up to 60+ more flowers per stem. Hyacinths can cope with the cold so a night frost won’t harm them.
Bright yellow, cloud white and everything in between. And the daffodil also comes equipped with a trumpet to welcome spring with a fanfare.
Arrived from the South
Double flowers, plain or spotted, large yellow trumpets, dwarves, specimens with sprays of flowers: there are some 88 different types of daffodil in twelve categories. They’re all descended from the wild daffodil which has been growing in the Northern hemisphere since time immemorial. The species that we know here mainly spread from Spain and Portugal to northern Europe. A few species also have a delectable fragrance. Daffodils have been flowering in the Netherlands for a very long time: as far as we know, there were first recorded in 1662 near Zwolle.
Beautiful and easy: you can start the outdoor season on your garden table and windowsill with grape hyacinths. Buy the bulbs pre-cultivated in pots to be sure that they will open.
Eurasian spring bloomer
Grape hyacinth is native to the whole of Europe, Russia and northern Asia, and spreads readily. Once the bulbs are in the soil, more will grow. In the wild the plant particularly occurs in verges and woody areas. The grape hyacinth has part of our surroundings for a long time – the plant is first referred to in botanical documents dating from 1601. What’s unusual is that plant experts cannot agree which family it belongs to. Purists believe that it’s a member of the Asparagus family, which includes both the vegetable and herbs and (climbing) plants. However, a more modern classification assigns the grape hyacinth to the hyacinths. There are 42 recognised species, of which the blue is the best-known.