recent blooms

a close-up of some of the irises on the windowsill

a whole view of the plants shown in the close-up above

crocus blooms after they've been inside on the windowsill a couple days

a period outside has helped these bulbs, the hyacinth has a second bloom and the crocus has a couple more buds ready to open

some time outside and then being brought inside has forced these irises to bloom, as well as the crocus

yellow crocus just brought inside

I was just tidying up the patio and saw these yellow crocus buds on this crocus so I brought the rack of pots inside and a little while later it has burst into bloom, I assume because of the warmth indoors.

another crocus in bloom

and a couple days later:

purple large Dutch crocus indoors

I just can't stop taking pics of this crocus, it's just a perfect example of an idoor bloom, if only all my bulbs could turn out so beautiful

purple large Dutch crocus indoors

purple large Dutch crocus

purple large Dutch crocus

forcing (or not) muscari, also known as grape hyacinths

In my experience muscari will not bloom until they are good and ready and not a day before. There's no forcing them. The jug of muscari (below) was from M+S and has luxuriant leaf growth but no sign of any buds. The little silver pot next to it I planted up myself, also no buds. And in the following pic are some pots with muscari with the same leaf growth but no buds. Some I attempted to force but moved them from the cellar to outdoors when the leaves were so large.

muscari

muscari

this is a close-up (below) of the white pot (above): long-leaved muscari and hyacinths in the middle

muscari

It's also time to consider the results of forcing iris. Aside from a couple of flowers most of the bulbs are now shriveled. Iris were in the front row below: a Golden Syrup tin, kitsch vase with the stylised peacocks, Shorter bluebird trough and a couple of the terracotta pots.

forced iris reticulata

last hyacinths, Little Beauty tulips

these are the last hyacinths I had indoors, time to shift attention to outdoors where the first hyacinths are coming out, when I lifted these bulbs to check them they had no roots

Little Beauty tulips

Little Beauty tulips

starting a review of the 2014/2015 bulb forcing season

There is a natural variation in the bulb's ability to come into flower. I can't see any other explanation for some of the results I'm seeing.

Why didn't one of these White Pearl hyacinths bloom, when it was in a similar vase, started at the same time and given the same growing conditions?

hyacinth in hyacinth vase

at last, in mid-January, some "normal" looking hyacinths

Delft Blue forced hyacinths in vases

This crocus bowl is not very successful; as most of the bulbs are not touching the water? It's difficult to find a bulb that is the right size to touch the water but not so small that it falls in. Compare the crocus bowl with that blue and white pot on the windowsill in the background; I think just about every crocus bulb in it bloomed.

crocus bowl

I have had some wonderful results with the crocus bulbs but if one looks carefully, the same bulb has produced multiple buds. 3 of the 5 Spring Beauty crocus in this Shorter and Son trough have bloomed, one with 3 flowers, one with two and one with 1 flower. A previous blog entry below shows the geese trough, also with Spring Beauty crocus, so that seems to be a good variety of very small bulbs that will fit in the Shorter and Son troughs. What did people in the 1930s actually use them for?

crocus spring beauty in Shorter trough

a week later and new blooms still coming; this crocus Spring Beauty has been a great performer

crocus spring beauty

Although these are mostly wilted, it shows how many flowers will be produced by one bulb - if it actually flowers.

crocus firefly

that new crocus bud above, wide open below

large Dutch crocus

I think with these (below) it's time to call it a day. If they haven't flowered by now, they aren't going to. What I'm seeing is lots of buds but they are dried and wilting inside before they actually flower.

crocus bulbs in vases

I'm also still hopeful for more iris blooms. This one just opened up in the last few days. According to my notes I planted two varieties of Iris Reticulata: Pauline and "Dwarf". Not sure which one this is.

iris

What is it about yellow hyacinths? They just don't force in vases as well as other colours. Hyacinth Gypsy Princess is better than City of Haarlem but still not as good as others. Pics to follow.

amaryllis in forcing vases

a few days after the pic below, I did a double-take, doesn't that windowsill look kind've empty, above? the middle amaryllis had fallen down, that didn't take long! so far the red vase is the best (ie most stable) amaryllis vase I've tried

I've had to move the amaryllis downstairs. Even though they keep falling over I think they look so spectacular I just move them upright again - until the next fall.

amaryllis vases

 

I've put the above amaryllis in the center of the window sill left free after other vases had spent flowers and really above a radiator is the worst place for bulbs! I'm making an exception for the amaryllis as I don't have any place else to put them.

sky high amaryllis

today's crocus

I must check which variety this is

these buds are so beautiful

I love growing amaryllis in vases but they get so big and top-heavy they are in danger of toppling over, sadly one did and it broke its vase and a vase on the floor it fell on. I must reconsider what the future is for me growing amaryllis in vases. I'll probably continue until all the vases are broken! This red one seems sturdier than others.

the fall-out from the fall is the flower broken off and I had to use the mother-of-pearl vase to hold the bulb whose vase was broken

amaryllis in vases

seems many hyacinth bulbs now have a secondary stem, as below

this hyacinth's main stem is wilted and the new flower is just coming into flower on the new stem at the bottom

this week's hyacinths

at last, some "normal" looking hyacinths, on stems above the bulbs, unlike some recently that haven't really moved up before they started blooming

selection of hyacinth vases

stocktaking first week in January

I decided I needed a bit of a stocktake of my hyacinth blooms and what's still in bud, having brought the last few remaining vases out of the cellar (after putting the Christmas decs away there).

These are what's in bloom now.

forced hyacinths in vases

Using the pronged vase (Spendid Cornelia), below, was something of an afterthought, as was the green rose bowl (Carnegie) to the right, both have surprised me with beautiful hyacinth flowers, neither of which is an "official" hyacinth vase.

below, left to right, Gypsy Princess, Delft Blue, Splendid Cornelia, White Pearl or Carnegie

hyacinths in bloom in vases

These are what's in bud now.

forced hyacinths in vases

Delft Blue has been my favorite hyacinth since I started growing them and this is one of the first vases I bought around 1984.

Delft Blue hyacinth

These are the spent blooms.

spent hyacinth blooms

Some of these Carnegie hyacinths are wilting before they even bloomed properly.

Carnegie hyacinths

Crocus

forced crocus

here is a close-up of the Culpeper pot above

crocus in Culpeper pot

crocus

update on the bulb bowls and other small bulbs

My cat Socks and hyacinths in the background.

a couple days later that Pink Pearl hyacinth above has opened fully

pink pearl hyacinth in amber vase

a few more hyacinths, some blooming, some still in bud

the muscari (grape hyacinths) are all lush leaf growth and no buds

forced muscari

despite a couple of early flowers (one each in these containers) still waiting for more iris reticulata blooms

iris reticula indoors

crocus blooms and buds, in the background tulips in the truffle bottles/jars

early spring crocus forced indoors

no tulips in bloom just yet but good root growth and stems

forced tulips

Royal Navy hyacinths just coming into bloom, later than others but right on time in a "normal" year

royal navy hyacinths

All the Delft Blue that were upstairs are spent, making way for these Gypsy Princess and a Pink Pearl hyacinth. I have never had so many hyacinths in bloom for Christmas and so many over by Christmas. The autumn's warm weather has them thoroughly confused.

forced hyacinth bulbs in vases

I put this bulb bowl (a good candidate as most of the bulbs were already spent) outside to make room for Christmas lunch but it has since gotten so cold that when I brought it in today I see the water in the bulb bowl is frozen. I haven't had a forced hyacinth over water that is frozen so I don't know what the result will be but I will let it melt and see what happens.

I thought an update on the other bulb bowls would be good. This bowl, below, has Royal Navy hyacinths, all buds so far.

hyacinth bulb bowl

This bulb bowl, below, has 3 Royal Navy and 2 Carnegie hyacinths.

hyacinth bulb bowl

This bulb bowl has a mix of hyacinths: 2 Delft Blue, 2 Gypsy Princess, 1 Spendid Cornelia.

hyacinth bulb bowl

the bulb bowl below has Carnegie hyacinths, one of which is just starting to bloom, also on that table, two SylvaC pots with hyacinths and 3 amaryllis

hyacinths in bulb bowl

those hyacinth blooms below look like Woodstock

forced hyacinths in bloom

hyacinth bulbs in vases

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