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Formidable flower history at the farmette

A gloomy but warm day is beginning at the farmette. We had .39 inches of rain in the gauge, and I think we've had about a half a foot in the past couple of weeks, so April showers are definitely here.

Everything is wet, wet, wet and the flowers completely love it. You can almost hear their stems growing and the blooms are bursting out all over the place.

So to celebrate Easter, new life and new beginnings, here's a small sampling of the plants that are pushing through the earth's surface at the farmette, plus a little history lesson on their origins.

Tulips: Originally from Turkey, these buds are favourites in my beds. I have red ones to make a bold statement in the back yard.

While people may know about the tulip's significance in history of the Netherlands, when people lost their minds about the value of the bulbs and actually caused an economic meltdown in the 1600s, there was also a form of mania in the flower's original home during the Ottoman Empire. At its zenith, Sultan Ahmed III (1703 to 1730) forbade people from transporting bulbs out of the capital - a crime punishable by exile.

Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed, and in this country, the tulip is seen as a symbol of thanks from the Netherlanders to Canadians for liberating their country during the second world war. This year, there will be 300,000 specially-developed tulips to commemorate the 150th year of our confederation.

Hyacinths: I have these planted on either side of the steps to the west-side entrance, so that when you walk up or down, you inhale the heady sweet fragrance these flamboyant beauties pump out.

This bulb has a bit of a sad history. It got its name from Greek mythology. Apollo and Zephyr were playing discus one day, vying yet again for the attention of a young human boy named - you guessed it - Hyacinth.

When the play got rough - as it tends to do when there are Greek gods involved - the boy was struck in the head by Zephyr's overly forceful throw and died. As Apollo wailed with the boy in his arms, the blood that seeped out bloomed into the flowers we know today.

Daffodils: Daffs are bunched in the bed under the black walnut trees in the southeast corner of the farmette's back yard. They come on before the many varieties of hostas that take over later on in the spring.

These luminescent blooms seem to suck up the sun's rays and push them back out when it's a gloomy day - like today - and tend to outshine anything around them.

They're of the genus Narcissus, which explains a lot, since in mythology, Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus who was so in love with his reflection in the water that he couldn't tear himself away, and actually died.

So there you have it. Out of a history of tragedy, death and destruction comes this kaleidoscope of colour that lifts my spirits and fills my soul - whether it's dull and dreary like today or bright and sunny at the farmette.

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