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Hyacinth ‘Delft Blue’

I had always thought of hyacinths as the sort of flower your grandma grows. That is, until I saw them in the late great Christopher Lloyd’s border at Great Dixter. As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of Mr Lloyd’s, so anything that’s good enough for him is good enough for me. When I went, he had ‘King of the Blues’ in his Long Border, and it truly zinged out at you from among the spring flowers – not gaudy, as some over-bred primroses are, for example, but just pure, joyous blue.

I couldn’t find ‘King of the Blues’ so had to opt for ‘Delft Blue’ – a more commonly-grown type but nonetheless superb for that. At this time of year its uncompromising china blue stands up beautifully to the butter-yellow daffodils all around it – this is not a wishy-washy plant, and all the better for it. You can force them to grow indoors – the usual excuse is to enjoy the scent at close quarters, but to be honest I find it overwhelming and a little sickly in the house. Far better to have it scattered on the wind so you catch a little puff of it as you pass by – one of those utterly blissful moments that gardening is all about. It seems grandma knew a trick or two after all.