by Ida Meister
Grape hyacinths grace gardens with very little effort. More related to the lily- though much resembling the hyacinth itself, in miniature- they require little tending. Once those bulbs are in the ground, they sweetly and obstinately bloom, no matter what ! Undemanding, fey, winsome – they add a light-heartedness to the landscape.
Grape hyacinths remind me, always- of my husband’s mother, Salomeja. It is no coincidence that they bloom at the very time she passed away, 13 years ago. They were blooming in her neglected garden then; I hope that the new owners have them still.
Tender, slender stalks support a profusion of blooms, resembling a cluster of brilliantly-hued purple grapes. [Much like my petite mother-in-law, whose relatively long, graceful legs supported a fiercely protuberant bosom ! I referred to her lovingly as our “puff-bosomed Lithuanian robin”, LOL ]
Interestingly, the have very little scent [ excepting the musk variety, which I’ve never seen] ; their main appeal is their intense color, their stubborn resistance to disease, their persistently cheerful mien. They refuse to languish; highly decorative, but never showy- they bestow their abundance with love and an abundance of good faith.
Thus it is, many years since, that I await the blooming of the grape hyacinth with gratitude and a sense of peace. I welcome its arrival – as I do, now – the memory of Salomeja- And all that was simple, noble, beautiful, and resilient in her.
Images: Grape Hyacinth photo supplied by Ida, antique postcard and stamps are from my families collection dated circa 1900, Argentina.