ju1i3's blog

September 2017

It's time to think about the coming forcing season. The prepared hyacinths are in the garden centre - or just starting to be put out at my local one. I've labelled up all my new vases, washing some as necessary. The clear vase below I think will only hold a small bulb. Packs of small hyacinth bulbs usually available at Sainsbury's, probably other supermarkets or discount stores as well. The bulk of my hyacinth bulbs I await delivery from Peter Nyssen and Bloms Bulbs.

hyacinth vases

I came across this Ladybird book of Indoor Gardening on ebay and was curious what it had to say about forcing hyacinths on water.

Growing Hyacinths in glasses Ladybird

March 2017

End of March and I have an unexpected bulb in bloom indoors. I bought this vase as a hyacinth vase last Autumn but realized it was too big for hyacinths but couldn't find an amaryllis bulb at that time. I guess they were sold out for Christmas. I bought one mail order with some spring plants, put it in the vase and it's looking great. I had to squeeze it in but in the last few weeks the bulb has shrunk and it's easy to remove so I was able to replace the water and add more water easily. This amaryllis is not so tall as others I've forced in vases so doesn't look in danger of toppling over as others have done. I don't know if that's the variety or time of year I'm doing this - not the usual for amaryllis indoors.

amaryllis vase with flower

As the hyacinths wilted I just put them outside in this trug. It was too cold to do anything else. Now that it's gotten a bit warmer I have planted them all in the ground, as I do each year. The flowers are small but there's still some life left in them, see my gardenwithoutdoors site.

spent forced hyacinths

Then I went through my vase list and made sure each vase was properly listed and labelled, ready for next forcing season (there's some overlap with my hyacinth vase reference site (www.hyacinthvases.org.uk).

unique hyacinth vases

I reviewed them on the table on the patio. As soon as I go outside, the cats come! Jeffrey at the back, Bear at the front, both neighbour cats.

squat hyacinth vases

Victor, one of my cats.

modern hyacinth vases

February 2017

While browsing the Telegraph news website, this caught my eye.

hyacinth indoors Telegraph

the forcing season is sadly coming to an end after a fabulous explosion of floral fireworks

This is one of my last blooms, my only successful Fresco hyacinth. The others rotted so I held back on topping this up with water in case water too close to the bulb contributed to the problem. I was rewarded with a huge flower with the largest florets I've seen on a hyacinth - and that gorgeous purple at the base of the florets.

forced Fresco hyacinth

and from the other side

forced Fresco hyacinth

keeping the water level low did not prevent that Fresco hyacinth rotting only a couple days after the pics above, the florets were starting to wilt anyway so still had a nice flower for a few days

rotten Fresco hyacinth

very last hyacinths, Fresco on the left, Blue Eyes front right, Skyline back right (this pic was taken a few days after one below which shows these hyacinths less open)

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

4 days later that Fresco hyacinth on the left above has bloomed well, next 3 pics below

forced Fresco hyacinth

forced Fresco hyacinth

unlike the other Fresco hyacinths, it never rotted

forced Fresco hyacinth

I've had 6 out of 10 flowers on the muscari bulbs in the Shorter trough. On closer examination all the non-flowering ones did have buds but they dried before fully developing.

muscari with dried buds

I've been pondering what about the flower trough allowed the muscari to bloom that the bulbs did not get from being in a vase or compost, 2 things: air to the roots (as well as water) and something for the roots to anchor on. The compost and the vase provided one or the other, not both. I have taken the remaining muscari from the vases (they obviously are not going to bloom there) and put them on some crushed shell mulch I had, right below in the saucer. Maybe that's too late for them this year. I have 2 more muscari bulbs in vases in the cellar which I started later. I will try the same with them and see what happens.

forcing muscari indoors

a few days later and I have a bud! and another has one of those dried out buds, obviously there's something about forcing them on pebbles/gravel/shells that they like, more experiments next year


While passing Ligne Roset in Mortimer St, London, I was delighted to see this exuberant display of hyacinths in two white troughs.

Ligne Roset forced hyacinths

Ligne Roset forced hyacinths

end of January 2017

that last bulb bowl with Blue Jacket hyacinths is looking and smelling magnificent

bulb bowl forced Blue Jacket hyacinths

2 days after the next pic below, the remaining Delft Blue are in bloom and I put them all together - making a nice, if a little late, display

forced Delft Blue hyacinths in squat hyacinth  vases

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

that Fresco hyacinth (on the right in the Stevens and Williams Princess vase) developed another stem, it's looking good, a shame that later in the day the main stem fell off and was soft and rotted, as was the bulb

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

later in the day the above was taken one of the stems rotted and the flower fell off

rotted forced Fresco hyacinth

I have 1 good Fresco hyacinth!

forced Fresco hyacinth

and from the other side

forced Fresco hyacinth

Blue Eyes hyacinths on the left and 2 Delft Blue and 1 Skyline between them on the right

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

all Delft Blue except the squat vases noted in the next pic and Fresco in a vase at the back (will take another pic as it's not very visible)

forced hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

close-up of some of those squat vases: Skyline in the terracotta vase, Blue Eyes in the front in the Tye blue vase and in the vase at the back with the white dots, Delft Blue buds on the right

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

I took the few vases left on the mantel and put them on the table above. Luckily I still have something special and beautiful to look at on the mantel.

the last bulb bowl with Blue Jacket hyacinths, Pink Pearl in the Hornsea bulb pot, Blue Eyes hyacinth bud in the blue vase, Skyline in the Up the Garden Path Portmeirion vase

forced hyacinths in bloom in bulb bowl

one of the last hyacinths in a Byzanta Ware vase

forced hyacinth Byzanta Ware vase

the next day, the last 3 hyacinths, 2 of which are above right, which I think will bloom as they have decent looking buds

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

I don't think this one will bloom as the buds are mouldy - not a common occurrence - not sure I've seen this before. But have seen problems this year with this variety - Fresco. Does not work well forcing in a vase, think they've all failed but one but they weren't prepared or marketed as a forcing variety so can't complain.

mouldy forced hyacinth buds

after all this time and only some very small roots, don't think this one is going to make it, just checked which variety - Fresco

poor hyacinth bulb

Most of the tulips were eaten by mice in the cellar but the bulbs survived in this little pot as it had a lid on (think it's a tobacco jar) but they've been infected with aphids. It got so bad I banished the pot outside.

indoor forced tulips with aphids

a close-up of those aphids on the tulips shows the insects themselves and their cast-off skin

indoor tulips with aphids

City of Bradford hyacinths

City of Bradford is becoming one of my favourite hyacinths: 3 in the middle below, in the amethyst, lime green and dark green vases. I'd never forced them before but very impressed with their performance this year, especially in the bulb bowl below.

City of Bradford forced hyacinths

all the hyacinths in the bulb bowl are in bloom at the same time

City of Bradford hyacinth bulb bowl

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

the buds on the Blue Eyes hyacinths are enormous

Blue Eyes hyacinth buds

Delft Blue on the right in the Dartington neodymium hyacinth vase, think that's Blue Jacket on the left, that pot was pressed into service at the last minute when there were too many hyacinth bulbs (as if there could be too many!) and I didn't note it on my spreadsheet

Dartington neodymium hyacinth vase

Blue Eyes hyacinth flower

Blue Eyes hyacinth flower

just 2 days after the pic below this one, the Blue Jacket hyacinths in the bulb bowl are opening up

Blue Jacket and Pink Pearl hyacinths

bulb bowl with Blue Jacket hyacinths, pink pearl hyacinth (I think, I didn't buy any pink bulbs but guess they were mixed up at the garden centre) in Hornsea Cirrus bulb pot on the right

Blue Jacket hyacinths in bulb bowl

close-up of those Blue Jacket hyacinth buds

Blue Jacket hyacinth buds

forcing muscari

I took this muscari out of the dark the other day. It looks a bit different from the others, in that it's like the hyacinths, in that it looks like the bulge of the flower is out of the bulb. It remains to be seen what will happen with it. And maybe the bulge is just leaves.

forced muscari

I realised that might not be a Shorter and Son trough. On examing the base, best I could without turning it over, it doesn't say "Shorter". It does have a number. I'll have to wait until the muscari are finished to examine it properly.

1930s squirrel flower trough

close-up of that squirrel, which I think is so cute

1930s squirrel flower trough

Surprising results with some of the muscari. No buds on the vase-forced bulbs. The bulbs I put in the Shorter and Son trough with the squirrel on a quickly improvised combination of gravel and compost have flowers and more buds coming. I don't know what exactly they like about that. 5 flowers/buds out of 10 (so far!), 50% very impressive, especially compared with zero from the vases.

forced muscari bulbs

close-up of one of the buds coming

forced muscari bud

close-up of another bud coming

forced muscari bud

Stevens and Williams Princess vases on the right (with Fresco), 2 glassroots vases in the middle (lime green has City of Bradford, cranberry Delft Blue), other antique glass hyacinth vases to the left (cobalt blue and green with Delft Blue) with Charles I Britannia ceramic transferware  (with Silverstone) amongst them

forced hyacinths in vases

hyacinths at their peak: Lady Derby far left, Caribbean Dream (fat dense flowers - wonderful) middle, City of Bradford right

Lady Derby  forced hyacinths

the pic below, just 1 day later after the pic above, and the 3 flowers on the right have opened up and some of the flowers in the pot and bowls have started wilting

forced hyacinths in vases and bulb bowls

Close-up of those 3 on the right from above, that Ravenhead Naturals vase on the left supposedly has Skyline (must be Pink Pearl, loose bulbs at the garden centre got mixed up I assume), middle "Venetian" vase is from Sainsbury's unnamed selection pack, Hornsea Cirrus bulb pot on the right has supposedly Purple Star (looks way too pink for that).

forced hyacinths in vases

some outstanding blooms this forcing season

I have some outstanding blooms this forcing season. Silverstone hyacinth in a repurposed Adam biscuit barrel.

forced Silverstone hyacinth in bloom

 forced hyacinths in vases and bulb bowls

close-up of the bulb bowl in the middle above, 2 great blooms out of 4 Caribbean Dream bulbs that were started

forced Caribbean Dream hyacinths in bulb bowl

Caribbean Dream hyacinth in bloom





this is one of my best blooms this year














I had to discard that 3rd bulb as it was rotten, shame 2 of the bulbs rotted as these 2 flowers are so great.

Carribean Dream forced hyacinths

These City of Bradford hyacinths are looking fabulous in this bulb bowl - and all in bloom at the same time. I haven't used this variety before but pleased with this bulb bowl. Will need to check how the others performed.

forced City of Bradford hyacinths in bulb bowl

that bulb bowl from the other side

forced City of Bradford hyacinths in bulb bowl

sure another pic is not required but I can't resist, just so impressed with these all in bloom at the same time, couple days later

forced City of Bradford hyacinths in bulb bowl

some of the outstanding blooms from upstairs

outstanding forced hyacinth blooms

3 Lady Derby hyacinths in the SylvaC pot with frogs and lizard on the left and bulb bowl with Blue Jacket hyacinths on the right, only buds so far.

forced Lady Derby hyacinths

2 days later the Lady Derby hyacinths have opened up more

forced Lady Derby hyacinths

some buds just opening

forced hyacinth buds opening

I think this pic is a little lighter so I include it although it's quite similar to the one above

forced hyacinth buds just opening

The hyacinth in that terracotta pot has bloomed and it has a double stem - great flower. It's either Delft Blue or Skyline - my spreadsheet got a bit confused.

double-stemmed hyacinth

the Miss Saigon hyacinths have also opened, Delft Blue either side

Miss Saigon and Delft Blue forced hyacinths

Difficult to get all the hyacinths in a bowl in bloom at the same time - this one almost made it. Surprising to see some muscari flowers on the left. What did I do right? I've had trouble getting any flowers out of muscari bulbs before their usual blooming time yet that Shorter and Son horseshoe trough with the squirrel with muscari bulbs on an improvised mix of grit and compost has them blooming. There are plenty of vases in the background of pics above with muscari bulbs with lots of roots but no flowers. I've tried them in pots in compost in the past with no results. This requires further experimentation!

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs in bloom

sometimes the wilting flowers have a special intensity of colour, Blue Jacket

wilting forced Blue Jacket hyacinth

Some of the last vases out of the dark, some are a bit questionable whether the stems have grown enough but if they don't come out soon, they won't bloom this year. Why so many of the squat vases so late? Is there a difference between tall and squat vases ability to grow hyacinth bulbs? Had never considered that but this is curious. Of these late developers 4 are Fresco, 7 Delft Blue from 3 suppliers (3 from one, 2 from another and 1 each from a third and fourth supplier), 2 Blue Eyes and 1 unnamed. Of the 7 vases left in the dark: 3 Fresco, 1 Blue Eyes, 1 Purple Star, 1 Skyline and 1 unknown.

hyacinth vases out of the dark

The bud in that cobalt blue vase with the white dot decoration is enormous! The variety is Blue Eyes.

hyacinth Blue Eyes bud

2nd week in January

those buds look like magic beans

forced hyacinth buds

some of the hyacinths in bloom

forced hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

some of the hyacinths in bloom downstairs

surprisingly some muscari in bloom! why those 2 (and another has buds)?, none of the ones in the vases have buds

forced muscari

Everything happens very quickly now. Suddenly I have a lot of hyacinths in full bloom. I still have over 20 vases in the cellar whose bulbs are not ready to come out. At this point I'm not sure they ever will be.

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vase

I love those fat buds

forced hyacinth buds

I love the purple colour of this hyacinth.

forced hyacinth

The small-ish openings on the x-shape vases are ideal for the smaller supermarket bulbs.

x-shape hyacinth vases with blooms

some other supermarket bulbs in the 2 vases to the right

forced hyacinths in bloom in vases

4 of these 5 Blue Eyes hyacinths are good, 1 of the bulbs was a failure

Blue Eyes forced hyacinths

The bulb bowl on the left has City of Bradford (Peter Nyssen) looking good and just coming into bloom. The bowl on the right has Caribbean Dream, one bulb I have removed as it's rotten (on the right shows the mould underneath), of the remaining bulbs, 1 is blooming, 1 has nice buds, 1 is doing very little. 

bulb bowls with forced hyacinths

Delft Blue in the bowl to the right

forced hyacinths in vases and bulb bowl

these supermarket hyacinth bulbs came in an assortment so can only identify the bulbs as white (bulbs are white as below in the middle) or pink/blue shades (purple bulbs below)

bulb bowl with hyacinths in bloom

Happy New Year

some more blooms on Jan 6th

forced hyacinths

Some of the hyacinths upstairs are looking good (I feared many would be stunted like last year).

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

That blue vase in the front below needs topping up with water - nothing like a flash pic to hightlight something I didn't notice in natural light.

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

I've rearranged some of the vases, taking failures and spent blooms away and bringing up more vases that recently came out of the dark. Polly Pocket in her usual spot on the floor by the radiator.

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

Already I can see some have not performed and it's time to remove them from valuable windowsill space and make room for others.

purple sensation failed hyacinths

In addition to Purple Sensation failures above, some Silverstone, Delft Blue and Skyline (although think they were mixed up at the garden centre so possibly not Skyline) failures below. Generally Delft Blue are great but the odd ones are not. I don't think Silverstone is going to be a reasonable forcing variety - it wasn't sold as prepared I just wanted to try it. Some unprepared bulbs work well. I should have bought enough to plant some Silverstone in the garden to do a proper comparison. Maybe it does great there. So far, does not do well forcing in a hyacinth vase, although large bulbs make it appealing for the vases with very large openings like the 2 green below.

forced hyacinths poor

Downstairs, Victor in his usual spot and some bulb bowls.

the white hyacinths so far this year

more vases coming out of the dark, some of my vintage tall ones, my favourite type, sadly my camera does not capture that purple/blue cobalt blue colour properly

I only started those Tye uranium ones (sickly green in the middle) the end of November and they've grown quickly, I think they will bloom in the next few weeks

the tiny bulbs in the Shorter and Son trough avoided the mice eating them as they were on top of a box which apparently they couldn't get to, I can't remember if those are crocus or tulips, will check

then 3 days later:

forced hyacinths for Christmas

on my back windowsill downstairs,

This is the same bulb bowl, above and below, with Delft Blue hyacinths. I wanted to show both sides of the flowers. I love those beautiful buds.

forced hyacinth in bulb bowl

right below, Caribbean Dream

left above and below, 4 purple Sainsbury's bulbs around 1 white in the middle

Upstairs at the front, it's such a dark start to January I've had to use the flash to take photos.

forced hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

forced hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

some hyacinths in bloom on the back windowsill upstairs

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

Sainsbury's purple hyacinth

Delft Blue, bit small but nice and the scent is wonderful

Miss Saigon hyacinth not quite blooming properly but still looks beautiful

the Sainsbury's white hyacinths haven't fully opened so far, not sure they will

end of December 2016

I'm worried whether the hyacinths upstairs in the living room are getting enough light. The room faces west and doesn't get any direct sun. A lot of them are pretty short, as they were last year, but I don't know if that's their position in the house or down to natural variations. The only way to know is to compare like for like bulbs. I will have to do it more scientifically next year (this year's questions are: opaque vs translucent vases and prepared vs unprepared bulbs).  Delft Blue hyacinth, below.

Delft Blue forced  hyacinth

this is a Silverstone hyacinth (in vase 65) just coming into bloom

forced hyacinth buds

also Silverstone right below

forced hyacinths upstairs in planter

close-up of that green vase (64) above right

forced hyacinth flower

forced hyacinths in wirework plant stand

close-up of the bottom shelf

forced hyacinths end of December

that green vase on the left above is Delft Blueforced Delft Blue hyacinth in hyacinth vase end of December

Down to the kitchen windowsill which faces east, this hyacinth in bloom I purchased as a "Skyline" from the bin of bulbs at the garden centre, certainly not the purple Skyline flowers I had last year

forced hyacinth in bloom

Delft Blue hyacinth, bit small but ok flower, that white hyacinth to the right, just starting to open is from Sainsbury's - you don't need expensive (or prepared) bulbs for forcing!

forced Delft Blue hyacinth end of December


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