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When one thinks of hyacinths spring invariably comes to mind along with vivid hues of deep purples and blues, soft pastel pinks, creamy whites and darker shades of salmon, fuchsia, and peach. T.S. Eliot wrote of this fragrant flower in his epic poem The Waste Land (1922) stating: “‘You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; / ‘They called me the hyacinth girl.’/—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,/ Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not/ Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither/ Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,/ Looking into the heart of light, the silence.” This is one of the most beautiful passages of poetry ever written, and he prefaces it with the very first line of the poem: “April is the cruelest month;” When one looks at a blooming hyacinth plant, April seems anything but cruel. Instead, it seems full of hope and beauty.

The hyacinth comes from the Asparagaceae family and sprouts from a bulb; this way the plants bloom each spring. Not only are the petals wonderfully perfumed but they sprout vertically, and each individual blossom resembles a small star. Hyacinths are native to the eastern Mediterranean and bloom in clusters, sometimes filling entire gardens (their normal bloom time being from March to April). Relatively easy to grow, hyacinths are associated with sport or play in the Victorian language of flowers while the blue hyacinth is a symbol of sincerity. Legends of the hyacinth flower stem from a Greek myth involving the two gods Apollo and Zephyr along with a young man called Hyakinthos. The legend states that, from a wounded Hyakinthos, a flower blossomed and this is how Apollo—god of the sun—chose its appropriate name.

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