time to think about forcing bulbs this autumn

Sad to think it's the end of summer but it is and now is the time to start planning my Christmas hyacinths. Of course, I haven't been able to resist buying some new vases.

I was lucky enough to get these 3 tall 19th century churn shape green vases (on the left), early 20th century amethyst vase next to them, light green vase next (also early 20th century), front and center the most common 19th century hyacinth vase on ebay - that doesn't mean I don't love them - I do and some of the intense purple-blue examples are fab (but I do prefer those tall wonky early hand-blown ones) , next to that a pressed glass peach vase (1930's?) I've seen lots of on ebay, just never had one myself.

hyacinth vases

vintage (not sure how vintage but certainly 20th century) clear vase on the right, new vases with engraved designs to the left

hyacinth vases

amethyst Victorian squat vase amidst some new vases

hyacinth vases

vase pique

I like flower bricks and vase piques but this is probably too big. I put the coke can in the pic to show scale. I don't know what to do with it!

vase pique

vase pique base

vase pique base

 

glassroots bulb vases

Below are the two glassroots vases I have, hyacinth vase on the left, crocus vase on the right, sadly broken by my cat. Considering I have 2 cats, I don't think 1 vase broken in the last 10 years is too bad. The hyacinth vase is very badly water stained inside. Sizes: 20.5 for the hyacinth vase, 8.2 for the crocus vase.

glassroots bulb vases

Golden Syrup tins

I am experimenting with the Golden Syrup tins to try to get the best effect. A hyacinth bulb on it's own is just too tall and falls over, especially without a window to lean it against (for the centre of the tables at Chin Chin).  Cutting the hyacinth short and packing the tin with shells, although pebbles or grit would work as well, to hold up the cut flowers seems to work better.

Golden Syrup tins with hyacinths and daffodils

I don't know what makes the £1 daffodils from Sainsburys open. Water? Sun? Heat? or how long it takes. I was at first pleased to get a whole bunch for only £1 but I soon realized, they aren't actually in bloom!

plant the spent hyacinths outside

It's time to plant the spent hyacinths outside, weather permitting. In the past it's been too cold. This year it's too wet! I do see some hyacinths from previous years are coming up.

spent forced hyacinths coming up

I just threw quite a number of the spent hyacinths on the flower beds awaiting planting. Those pink ones that didn't bloom properly went on the compost pile but the successful Delft Blue  (of which I had many) I am going to plant in the ground.

spent forced hyacinths

With so hyacinths wilting they initially ended up on the table. I have limited space inside for the bulbs and pots so I removed them as soon as they wilted.

spent forced hyacinths

yellow crocus, pink tulips, purple hyacinths

The next day one of the red tulips is opening up.

red tulip bud

This is my first (only?) yellow crocus in bloom. I generally prefer purple crocus but this definitely looks very cheerful the first sunny day in a while at the beginning of February.

yellow crocus

yesterday it was still in bud

yellow crocus

These tulips have done amazing this year. Every day I look at them, another is in bloom. That little blue and white pot in the middle is from Culpeper (as is one of the flower bricks). They certainly had some nice porcelain items before they went out of business. That Marie hyacinth in the green glass pot is just struggling to bloom but I don't think it's going to make it.

Little Beauty tulips

The Woodstock hyacinths are in bloom. My last ones, sadly. Just below that windowsill is a radiator - the worst place to put forced bulbs! but unfortunately I don't have anyplace else to put these. We all have to do the best we can with what we have.

Woodstock hyacinths

latest on the small bulbs and hyacinths

Here are the latest tulips to bloom and another crocus. I started this Woodstock hyacinth extremely late. I'm not sure it's going to bloom.

end of January latest small bulbs

These are the 3 Carnegie hyacinths I grew this year, including both of my terracotta vases

Carnegie hyacinths

This was a very surprising bulblet. It managed to get so big before I noticed it. Next thing I knew it was in bloom.

blooming hyacinth bulblet

first tulips and late hyacinths

couple more tulips have bloomed today, the one on the left has mutliple buds - I've never had that on a tulip before

little beauty tulips

my first tulips (Little Beauty) in bloom

I bought some unprepared hyacinths (Woodstock, Marie and Ibis) and put them in the fridge for 6 weeks to prepare them myself so they were later  than everything else. One Woodstock is in bloom (below) and the remaining ones are in the pots pictured below that.

late hyacinths

These are some of the final hyacinths: Marie and Woodstock I prepared myself.

late hyacinths

This is the small crocus from the photo above.

small crocus

This is the Marie hyacinth from the amethyst vase above. No wonder it's so small, the roots are miniscule. I don't know why.

Marie hyacinth

I see the Marie bulbs are quite a dark colour (in the golden syrup tin), quite distinctive from the Woodstock.

These Woodstock are incredibly thin and the buds quite small. They are all like that so obviously naturally so.

Woodstock hyacinths

My City of Haarlem hyacinths, probably as much as they're going to bloom. Why do I try this variety over and over again? It never works, much as I hope. Why do the suppliers bother to prepare them? They never work!

City of Haarlem

The two tall hyacinths on the right are Sky Jacket. They are generally quite tall with thin flowers, compared to the Delft Blue on the left which is a fat full flower. Notice the secondary stem. That was a bulblet I hadn't noticed until it bloomed. To the left of that is a white Carnegie hyacinth. To the right is a Bristol green vase I bought quite late, too late to grow a hyacinth in this season.

Sky Jacket hyacinths

Socks and hyacinths

cat and hyacinths

flower bricks

After seeing the flower bricks on Antiques Roadshow yesterday, I was inspired to push the hyacinth vases to one side, buy some inexpensive flowers and have a go at arranging them in my (reproduction) flower bricks. I did not know which were the best flowers to use and how many of each but in this case I was limited by availability and budget. This time it's red tulips and purple iris.

hyacinth vases and flower bricks

The stems are much too long. I've had to force myself to trim them even more. It's painful

flower bricks

but I see they do look better. One flower in each hole I think would be too much and wouldn't even fit.

flower bricks

The holes in the Winterthur brick are smaller, too small for the tulips and irises. The greenery that came with the irises just fits.

flower bricks

I need to see how the iris look when in bloom. I'll probably have to shorten them even further.  I've filled all the bricks with water (through the larger central hole). I think that's a good number of tulips in the Culpeper brick.

flower bricks

I have not been able to find any period examples of flower bricks with flowers (eg paintings or illustrations) but from my experimentation I think less is more, the smaller the better with flower size and not every hole needs a stem in it. I will try other kinds of flowers and post results here.

a couple days later and the iris are in bloom, I think they are too big for the "vase" and overwhelm the flower brick, I will look out for other flowers to try

purple irises in flower brick

 

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