From architecture to government, the influence of this small European nation is part of everyday life in countries around the globe. In one of the first centers of civilization, the native flowers of ancient Greece were strong influences on the creation of ancient Greece's extensive mythology. Modern gardens worldwide can trace their roots back to the gardens of Athens and Sparta.
The ancient name for gladiolus was xiphium, which means "sword." This reference is readily apparent from the plant's tall spikes that produce a multitude of blooms. Often considered a bulb plant, the gladiolus is actually a corm. Corms are short, thick sections of stem that appear at the base of the plant and contain buds. Propagation can be either from corms (purchased at a garden store) or seeds. Harvested corms can be stored in winter and planted in March. For an attractive bouquet, the University of Minnesota extension recommends cutting the flower spikes first thing in the morning to avoid the heat of day. Cuttings should have only one or two open flowers allowing the unopened buds to bloom in the vase.
According to Greek mythology, the hyacinth was formed from the blood of a young man killed by a discus. the Hyacinth blooms with blue-violet flowers in late April through May.
A bulb flower, Hyacinths have fragrant blooms that blossom in dense clusters. The bell-shaped flowers come in shades of red, white, yellow, pink, purple, lavender and blue.
Strongly associated with Greek mythology, the daffodil was considered a symbol of death, and it was thought that Hades was carpeted with the flower. The daffodil flower's trumpet shape protrudes from a star-shaped background and comes in shades of yellow and white. This attractive flower is one of the first to bloom in spring (often in clusters) and is popular as an Easter decoration. The plant is also known as Narcissus.
Bear's Breeches is one of the earliest known cultivated species of garden plants. Growing to around 4 feet in height, the plant bears clusters of deep-lobed shining dark green leaves and white to lilac flowers on thick spikes. Flowering in the first months of summer, this is a drought-tolerant plant that propagates from tubers. The leaves are considered to have been the inspiration for the Corinthian columns of ancient Greece.