first summer(now Roman hyacinths)

Cynthia Mueller
Wed, 03 Mar 2004 19:46:41 PST
Jim McKenney wrote, "Cynthia, can you tell us more about your Roman

--I dug them from the flower beds at a friend's family home in Navasota,
Texas  (Central Texas).  The house was a fading Victorian structure on half
a city block, where good gardeners had lived.  There was a greenhouse
remaining that had been heated by being flooded with water underneath.  Also
present were the older strain of Lilium longifolium, red nerines, old
fashioned German garlic, Grand Primo narcissus, Jackson vine (a form of
Smilax greenbriar used for old-fashioned Southern floral arrangements, old
German iris cultivars, a few Crinum bulbispermum crosses and 4 o'clocks.
The Roman hyacinths grew half concealed under primrose jasmine.

But:  even though this sounds like a good beginning for the discovery of
antique strains, how do we know my friend's grandmother or Aunt Ermintrude
didn't purchase these bulbs at the store in relatively recent times?  She
might have bought them in the late 1950's and early 1960's as 'French Roman
Hyacinths' which I can remember others purchasing.

Their leaves are about 8 inches long.  In October the roots have splayed out
under the bulbs but they don't come up for awhile after that.  There were a
number of seed pods this year, but they are still green.  The flowers were
lightly sprinked up and down stalks that were about 6-8 inches long.  This
year I don't have anything else they might have crossed with, so they must
be self-fertile.  I did grow some of the 'Festival' types from McClure and
Zimmerman in the last 3 years but they have slowly degenerated and did not
make much of a show of flowering.  I think they did not even come up this

Blooms look like small blue bells turned in several directions and do have a
wonderful smell.  And seedlings will be fresh creations that would be free
of viruses (the parent bulbs don't appear to have any, either).  If I had
more sense I would send an image to the Wiki.

Cynthia W. Mueller
College Station, TX
Zone 8b-9

More information about the pbs mailing list