Looking Back: “Don’t Be Afraid of Hyacinths”

Looking Back: “Don’t Be Afraid of Hyacinths” –

As we celebrate my last year here at OHG, we’re going to be recycling a few nuggets from the past such as this sidebar from our 1995 catalog:

Hyacinths are the most endangered of historic garden bulbs, in part because too many gardeners still stereotype them as “formal” and “stiff.” May I suggest looking at them as “quaint” instead? As the great Philadelphia plantsman John C. Wister wrote in his classic Bulbs for Home Gardens of 1930:

“Few flowers have suffered more unjustly at the hands of the American gardening public – unjustly because they have been banned from countless gardens for no fault of their own, but on account of the revulsion of taste against the circles, half-moons, crescents, stars, and other atrocities that were cut in lawns in bygone days and filled with hyacinths.

“Big or little, white, pink, blue, or yellow, the hyacinth is a lovely flower when used with discretion or restraint. To condemn it for the bad company it kept generations ago is . . . narrow-minded . . . .

“Don’t be afraid of hyacinths. Try them and see how many different garden positions suit them. . . . But don’t be without this early and delightfully fragrant flower.”