What’s in a name?
The name ‘Grape Hyacinth’ is perfect for this little bulb flower. After all, each of their flower clusters looks like a miniature cluster of grapes. Did you know that these elegant beauties symbolise humility and modesty? This is because you have to get down on your knees to admire them. Muscari, their official scientific name, sounds more sophisticated. This name refers to the word ‘musk’ due to the musk-like fragrance that some varieties produce.
Plenty of choice
There are about forty different varieties of grape hyacinths, but the most familiar one is Muscari armeniacum. Although called Grape Hyacinth, not all varieties are purple. Some are blue, pink, or white or even display two colours. The original habitat of these popular little flower bulbs includes the Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Did you know that grape hyacinths could be purchased as far back as 1596? At that time, they cost what would now be 4.50 euros a bulb.
An all-round good flower bulb
Grape hyacinths can easily tolerate frost and are also easy to grow. You can leave them undisturbed where they will naturalise and increase in number every year. No wonder that any garden could do with some grape hyacinths. The plant itself grows to a height of 10 to 25 centimetres with each little bulb producing more than one cluster of flowers. If you would like to enjoy grape hyacinths, plant them in the autumn between October and December before the first frost.
- If you want the delightful scent of musk in your garden, be sure to plant one of these varieties: Muscari aucheri ‘Blue Magic’, Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’, Muscari botryoides ‘Album’ or Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’. No garden? If you have a patio or balcony, you’re still in luck since most varieties (Muscari armeniacum being the most commonly used) can be planted in pots.
- For a real eye-catching display of colour in your garden, plant groups of at least 25 grape hyacinth bulbs close together. What a pretty sight they will make in the spring!
- Maybe you’d like a cheerful combination of plants. If so, plant grape hyacinths along with Grecian windflowers (Anemone blanda).