The Jan Bos hyacinth is an unforgettable flower. The bell-shaped mini-flowers that make up the overall spire are a carmine pinky-red, vibrant, and almost outrageous in their fervour. It really is a stand-out showstopper, nothing shy or retiring here but still very, very pretty. As with all hyacinths, the fragrance will fill your home and bring a little bit of outdoors inside for when the weather is being vile. Hyacinths are bulbs that often look good planted together, so why not look at the rest of our range as well.
Hyacinths can be forced inside so that you can enjoy their scent and colour at close proximity. They tend to grow slightly taller inside and will need to be supported with a small cane or by tying some string around the leaves and flower spike as they emerge. They look good in groups of odd numbers and this hyacinth probably looks at its best en masse. We tend to avoid the punchbowl effect of mixing too many colours together but you could think about planting Jan Bos with the lovely Hyacinth Delft Blue for a Christmassy effect. And don't forget that hyacinths look and smell wonderful in a bouquet or table arrangement. Add a tiny bit of bleach to the water to ensure that they look at their best for as long as possible if you have them as cut flowers.
Outside, hyacinths perform best in the open and can be used en masse as part of a formal bedding scheme or at the front of a herbaceous border. If you have grown a hyacinth indoors one year, plant the deadheaded bulb outside and with a little bit of t.l.c. it will flower again in years to come.
And who was Jan Bos? Appropriately enough he was the Dutch speed skater who became world champion, Olympic silver medallist and then went on in 2012 to be a sprint cyclist. All that energy is summed up in this tremendous flower but in fact this is an old variety dating from 1910. Maybe the man was named after the flower?
Legend goes that the original Hyacinth was a beautiful prince of Macedonia, in love with and loved by Apollo. During a game of discus throwing, Hyacinth was struck by the discus that Apollo had thrown especially vigorously. It killed him and where his blood spilt, Apollo made a hyacinth grow. Keats in his poem 'Endymion' elaborates on this by suggesting that the zephyr west wind was jealous of Hyacinth's preference for Apollo and deliberately sent the discus off course to kill Hyacinth...