Wednesday, August 01, 2012
A Bowl of Hyacinths
Secretive bowls of earth snugly tucked up in soft green moss, just the smallest hint of a stubby shoot peeking out at gloomy winter days; a bowl of hyacinths was a standard feature in my grandmother’s sitting room in the darkest December months. There would be a log fire in the grate, dim afternoon light barely making an impression through the small window panes, tea in cups and saucers and best behaviour.
I’d almost forgotten about bowls of hyacinths until my sister-in-law made herself one this year. For some reason I’d thought that South Africa didn’t have them – our winter months are so much less dark and gloomy than England’s and it’s not Christmas, something I’d always associated with hyacinths. I went into raptures as the nostalgic scent transported me back thirty years, and when we got back from holiday I found that we now had our own bowl of bulbs, thanks to my lovely SIL.
The first two flowers are now open already. Do they grow more rapidly here, or is the remembered slow progress and weeks of anticipation just a feature of time passing more slowly when you’re a child? Anyway the first two flowers are white ones and as fragrant as I remembered. In our huge living room the scent isn’t overwhelming, coming in wafts as you pass the table. The house has never smelled so sweet before! This is definitely a new winter tradition to keep alive in our family.
I've also written about hyacinths over at Green Living Tips as a natural alternative to air fresheners.