Tuesday, April 9, 2013


“If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft, And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left, Sell one and from the dole, Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul” — Saadi (12th Century Persian Poet)
“H” is for hyacinth! These fragrant, bulbous flowering plants are a sure sign that spring is on the way. I chose hyacinth for this week’s post, as I find them so hard to resist at the market — the month of April is when I start to really pine for spring flowers, and it feels like a miracle when hyacinths and other bulbs start appearing. The sweet, syrupy smell and the vivid blooms that range from brights to pastels make the hyacinth one of my all-time favorite flowers.
Hyacinths (like so many flowers grown from bulbs) are mostly imported these days from Holland. They are originally native to the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Iran and Turkmenistan(!). They are often associated (along with many spring flowers) with rebirth and are commonly used in the decor for the Persian celebration of Norouz, which occurs during the spring equinox. Hyacinth is colored in almost every hue of the rainbow, but you will primarily find the blues, purple and white shades in shops.

The name “hyacinth” is derived from a Greek myth in which a beloved youth named Hyacinth met with his demise at the hands of the jealous god of wind (Zephyr). The story is that both the god of archery, Apollo, and Zephyr loved Hyacinth, but Hyacinth appeared to prefer Apollo. One day, Hyacinth was running to catch a discus, and a vengeful Zephyr kicked up his wind so the discus would hit Hyacinth, killing him. Apollo then created the hyacinth flower to spring from the ground out of his spilled blood. Quite a lot of drama in those myths :)
After the jump, we’ll dive into styling tips and more history on this beautiful flower! 

For my own enjoyment at home, I almost never mix hyacinths with other flowers. They are too precious simply clustered in a vase! My love affair with milk glass just won’t quit, and it feels very appropriate for these darling buds. They require plenty of fresh, cool water, and they will last for several days as cut flowers.
Each of the tiny blooms traveling up the soft, thick stem of the hyacinth will eventually open!
I chose to work with a range of purples and pinks for today’s post. Let’s play with the spring theme and add a bit of whimsy . . .
Start with a flat tray of some kind that matches your containers. Here, I am using a plain, white all-purpose ceramic tray.
Pick up a raw flat of wheatgrass. You can order wheatgrass from most nurseries or plant stores. Many florists also carry it, but they might already have it prepped and displayed in a container, making it less cost-effective. Wheatgrass will last several days with a fresh daily misting of water from a water bottle.
This is what the underside of the wheatgrass looks like! It is a mass of twisted roots. You can pull the whole flat out of the plastic and work with it on its side or flat on a cutting board. Use a knife to cut through the roots and form it into whatever size and shape meets your needs. For this project, I measured the grass to fit the tray.
Wheatgrass sits proudly on the tray and smells so fresh! Let’s add a little something special . . .
If you tamp down the grass with your hand, you can flatten a little space that might be perfect for . . .
. . . an adorable little group of hyacinth! If the vase feels unsteady, you can actually cut out a chunk of grass right where you intend to place your vase. The rest of the grass will remain intact, even if you have cut-out pieces. Alternatively, you could also cut smaller chunks or strips and form them around your vase placement.
Spring vignette for the tabletop . . . done and done.
None of these arrangements require any complicated design work; it is all about selecting fresh flowers in great colors and using containers that you have on hand. Grouping elements always makes a great impact. Here, I am using a simple cake plate, the tray from our project (which doubles as an appetizer tray in the kitchen) and very inexpensive milk-glass treasures acquired online.
I go crazy for that soft, translucent pink.
Thanks, all! Please join me back here in tomorrow when “i” will be for . . .

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