Hyacinth

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March 7th is the World Hyacinth Day.

Hyacinths are  highly fragrant bulb plants that bloom from March to April.  They are native to the eastern Mediterranean region, eastern Iran, and Turkey.  In the Victorian language of flowers, the Hyacinth symbolizes sport; the blue Hyacinth signifies sincerity.

The common hyacinth is Hyacinthus Orientalis of the family Liliaceae.  The plant produces a dense, compact spike of bell-shaped waxy flowers, 6-12 inches tall in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender, and blue in a bundle of narrow bright green leaves.

PlantingHyacinth-DeftBlue

Plant hyacinth bulbs in Fall when soil temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.  Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches and mix in a 2 to 4 inch layer of compost to prepare the garden bed for planting.

Set the bulbs in holes of 6 to 8 inches deep holes, point the tips upwards, 4 to 6 inches apart; cover the bulbs with soil pressing firmly; water them thoroughly.   Harvest when the first florets just begin to show color, or earlier.  After they blossom in Spring, allow the plants to grow until their leaves die off.  After blooming they need time to store energy in the bulbs for the next year. After it stops producing flowers at the end of flowering season, to remove the dead plant, either snip it off at the base or twist the leaves while pulling it lightly.

Cut flower carehyacinth_double

Nowadays, fresh-cut Hyacinths are sold complete  with roots intact to make the flowers last longer. Don’t cut these off, but just give them a good rinse. Use a clean vase and filling it with clean lukewarm water mixed with a floral preservative solution; follow the instructions provided. After removing any damaged flowers,  arrange your bouquet in the vase so that it is displayed  attractively in the house.

Hyacinth flowers should be kept in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Check the water level frequently and top up the vase with lukewarm water, which promotes good liquid uptake. Remove regularly  damaged and dying flowers. This helps the flowers last longer. Every four days cut off about one inch (2.5cm) of the stems in an angle and change the water at the same time. If taken good care Hyacinth flowers last seven days and possibly slightly longer.

 

 

 

Stephanotis

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Stephanotis

The name of this sweet smelling flower, Stephanotis, comes from the Greek and it means: crown, diadem, wreath.  Clusters of small white flowers with five pointed petals grace the climbing evergreen plant and conjure up the stars in the Pleiades.  As such they are ideal to be worn in the hair like a diadem.
The common name of Stephanotis is Madagascar Jasmine. Thanks to one Monsieur Petit-Thouars, a renowned French botanist and aristocrat, who in the early 19th century introduced it into Europe when he returned from his exile on the isles of Madagascar and Mauritius.
These delicate flowers are also wonderful additions to wedding posies including corsage and boutonniere.
When I still had my flower shop, I remember I loved to work with Stephanotis for wedding orders, particularly for bridal bouquets, as I admired their beauty, elegance, and intoxicating fragrance. 
I couldn’t resist purchasing the plant when I first discovered about it in one of my local nurseries ten years ago. It was like finding a treasure.  I planted it in a pot and placed it in my atrium where there is more shade and not too much sun.  Stephanotis - poted
 
In my part of Southern California, we don’t get much rain or humidity, necessary conditions for growing Stephanotis; however, the winters are mild and perfect for their growth.  I have repotted my Stephanotis only once during the past ten years.  I trim the branches once a year during winter when the plant is dormant.
 
Today my Stephanotis bush is three times its initial size when I first bought it. It blooms from late June to mid-September.  It gives me a world of pleasure as I watch it bloom in clusters and enjoy its lingering delightful fragrance in my atrium and inside my house. It even produces the egg shape fruits filled with fuzzy seeds.  My plant is easy going and does not require much caring for.  Most people are not as lucky as I am when it comes to cultivating this demanding plant. I think my Stephanotis knows that I adore it: it was love at first sight for both of us!

 

 

Tulips

Pink Tulips

How appropriate for the wine glass to be called tulip glass…

When next time you drink wine in a tulip  glass remember its poetic associations with the flower.

For centuries tulips have been praised by the mystic poets of the East like Omar Khayyam and Hafiz, in association with red wine and roseate cheeks of a beloved, as in this couplet:

When in the east of the cup, the sun of wine comes up,

In the garden of the wine-bearer’s cheek, a thousand tulips open up.

If a disobedient bouquet of cut tulips in a vase disappoint you with their moody behavior, look at the arrangement again but this time differently. Tulips ask you to see grace not logic in them and there is a certain beauty in their hourly shifting whim.