Hyacinth, for me, are the quintessential harbingers of spring. I remember as a child in my grandmother's garden being fascinated watching their fat green stems poke out of the ground, followed by the tightly packed florets. The stem kept growing and the florets would open up and a heavenly scent would emerge. The heady scent of hyacinth brings back memories of blue skies, bird song and warming soil.
Hyacinths are particularly well suited to forcing in water and a few years ago I began collecting antique and vintage hyacinth vases. You can learn more about hyacinth vases here
Legend has it the origin of hyacinth can be traced back to a young Greek boy named Hyakinthos. As the story goes, two gods – Apollo the sun god, and Zephyr the god of the West wind – adored Hyakinthos and competed for his attention. One day, while Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the art of throwing a discus, Zephyr, in a jealous rage, blew the discus back, killing Hyakinthos with a strike to the head. Apollo named the flower that grew from Hyakinthos's blood, hyacinth.