Hyacinth Plant Profile March
Pausing at Bottisham Lock on the River Cam in late spring, an unexpected vista shines out from the dull, damp Fenland landscape. A small field is filled with a rainbow of 100,000 flowering hyacinths, their scent almost discernible on a westerly wind. This vision is the work of Alan Shipp, a retired farmer who holds the world’s largest collection of rare hyacinths, having amassed some 260 different varieties since 1993. ‘I had this small farm that wasn’t large enough to be commercially viable, and by chance I stumbled upon hyacinths,’ he explains. Hyacinths reliably flower in March and April, thriving in beds, borders and containers, providing there is good drainage.
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