Forcing Bulbs Indoors

hyacinth vases

1. Buy some bulbs

Beginning of September 2014, the local garden centre has just 5 varieties of prepared hyacinth bulbs:

time to think about forcing bulbs this autumn

I love trying to get my hyacinths in bloom for Christmas so I try to start as early as possible. Yesterday (3 Sept) I found prepared hyacinth bulbs on sale in the local garden centre. I love being able to pick my own in those crates of bulbs they put out.

hyacinth bulbs

The prepared bulbs have had special treatment to get them ready for forcing. I usually buy prepared bulbs but I've also tried unprepared and they forced just fine. That's not scientific though. I need to try it again in a controlled way.

The varieties of bulbs I bought:

Delft Blue, my favourite but not usually in bloom until January

White Pearl, I haven't tried this type before

Pink Pearl, the pink varieties are usually in bloom first

Jan Bos, dark pink which seems to be shorter than others but also early

 

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

Pages

Subscribe to garden withindoors RSS

Garden Withoutdoors