New Year's Eve Hyacinths

It is the peak time for the forced hyacinths.

forced hyacinth in terracotta vase

the next wave of Deflt Blue hyacinths is replacing those on the mantel

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

forced hyacinths

forced hyacinths

Pink Pearl hyacinths

forced Pink Pearl hyacinths

I forgot to post this photo of the Jan Bos hyacinths from 10 days ago, one of the earliest hyacinth varieties to bloom.

Jan Bos hyacinths

Delft Blue hyacinths in the middle, Pacific Ocean hyacinths on the left

forced hyacinths

the first crocus in bloom in the Wedgwood hedgehog

Wedgwood hedgehog with crocus in bloom

Woodstock hyacinths just starting to bloom, obviously a later variety, only 2 in bloom so far

Woodstock hyacinths

Sadly, some of the problem bulbs.

bent hyacinths that never straightened up, I still don't know why this happens

bent forced hyacinths

Some of the other Delft Blue hyacinths that didn't bloom well properly. There's always a proportion of the bulbs that don't perform well.

Although the Sky Jacket hyacinths looked interesting in bud, they have not bloomed well and the bulbs have shrunk and are falling through into the water. And one of them is bent over.

Sky Jacket hyacinths

Sky Jacket hyacinths

Boxing Day hyacinths

some huge fat gorgeous hyacinths, the bulb bowl hyacinths are so variable, some bloomed some did not so I replanted those in soil

forced hyacinths in bulb bowls

forced hyacinths in bulb bowls

forced hyacinths in bulb bowls

that hyacinth in the middle had a flower that was finished so I cut that stem to allow the small second flowering stem to bloom

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

I don't know why sometimes the hyacinths are bent over, some straighten up, some do not

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases bent

forced hyacinths in antique hyacinth vases

as soon as I take out the spreadsheet to note dates of blooming and how the hyacinths are looking, my cat Victor wants to sit on it but I rescued it before he sat down but not before he walked on it with muddy paws

Hyacinths in bloom Christmas Eve

hyacinths in bloom on Christmas Eve

forced hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

These hyacinths, with the bulge (the buds moving from the bulb up the stem) in the stem, are ready to come out of the dark. The cause of many failed hyacinths is taking them out of the dark too early and then the hyacinths do not bloom properly.

hyacinths are often bent over like this and most will straighten up as they grow

crocus bulbs growing in the Wedgwood hedgehog

hyacinths growing on pebbles in a bowl

Merry Christmas!

hyacinths in bloom a few days before Christmas

more hyacinths in bloom in some of my favourite vases: tall late Georgian or early Victorian hand-blown, the cobalt blue is my favourite colour; I have a lot of fat buds so will definitely have flowers for Christmas day

forced hyacinths in antique vases

a couple days later those two very tall hyacinth flowers

forced delft blue hyacinths in antique hyacinth vases

a number of the other hyacinth flowers, still developing

forced delft blue hyacinths in hyacinth vases

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

the hyacinth on the right is from Sainsbury's which came in a mixed pack of unnamed varieties, looks like Splendid Cornelia

forced hyacinths in bloom

first hyacinths in bloom - mid-December 2019

These are today's hyacinths, 16-12-2019.

forced hyacinths in bloom

Wedgwood hedgehog with crocus bulbs. The crocus are getting nice and fat and I hope there will be some nice flowers soon.

Wedgwood hedgehog with crocus bulbs

I don't like appearing in photos but this is just about acceptable, hidden by hyacinths on the mantelpiece in my living room. Those Jan Bos are obviously the earliest bloomers this year.

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

first hyacinths in bloom, 14-12-2019, Jan Bos

Jan Bos hyacinths in bloom

Pacific Ocean, a variety of hyacinth I have not used before but trying it this year for the first time. It looks a little small so far. First photo above shows this in bloom a couple days later.

pacific ocean hyacinth

another small sparse hyacinth, this one from Sainsbury's, in a small vintage glass jug, also more in bloom in first photo above

forced hyacinth

I got the printout of the spreadsheet I use to keep track of the hyacinths to update but Victor promptly decided to sit on it - so that wasn't going to be possible!

Bulb Bowls

Bulb bowls have their pros and cons. The first bulb bowl I took out of the dark end of November looked pretty good with all the bulbs at a similar stage of development (see below). These bulb bowls have hyacinths that vary quite a lot. Some of the hyacinths really need to come out of the dark, some could do with longer in the dark. Difficult if they're in the same bulb bowl. A lot of the roots were growing outwards rather that through the hole into the water. I tried to push some back in but they just broke so only did that with one bowl.

hyacinth bulb bowl

That one bulb in the green Davidson bulb bowl that is not growing is soft and rotten so I disposed of that and examined the other two bulbs from that bowl and see that the roots are rotting, soft and transparent. Usually hyacinth roots are white and brittle. I removed the soft rotting roots and there are still some white brittle roots left so thought they'd be worth planting in compost.

forced hyacinth with rotting roots

checking the bulbs that aren't very well developed in the other bowls reveals they don't have roots

hyacinth bulb bowls

this pot had 3 bulbs but one not growing so removed it - it's soft and oozing

I decided to just leave the roots however they were after the failed attempt to push them into the water. Below they are growing into one of the small ventilation holes, sure the hyacinth will bloom just fine with the roots as they are.

hyacinth bulb bowl

I have never seen hyacinth roots like this with brown on the tips of the roots. Intriguing as I've been forcing hyacinths for years and thought I'd seen it all.

hyacinth roots with brown tips

more bulbs out of the dark early December 2019

The crocus are still looking a bit pale but guess it's the inner leaves that are green,

crocus bowl Wedgwood hedgehog with crocus bulbs

some small tulips in the Shorter and Sons trough, lots of roots growing from the crocus bulbs in the vases

forcing crocus in vases

some more pale yellowish hyacinths out of the dark, easy to see the difference with the green ones that have been out for a week

forcing hyacinths in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

I will be at the Castlehaven WinterFest on December 13th selling some of the hyacinths to benefit Mama Cat Trust Fox Rescue

Hyacinth Bulbs - end of November 2019

Things are happening quickly now with all the crocus vases and 30 hyacinth vases out of the cellar. The hyacinths need to be out of the dark by December 1st to bloom for Christmas so I have many well on the way.

hyacinth vases

forcing hyacinth bulbs

hyacinth bulb bowl

hexagonal Victorian cobalt blue hyacinth vase

amethyst hand-blown hyacinth vase

Hornsea pot

Wedgwood hedgehog with crocus bulbs

Growing Amaryllis in Vases

the amaryllis have stages they go through

1. bulbs into vases with the initial dry roots

amaryllis vases

2. those existing roots rot and turn the water black, the bulbs have new green shoots

amaryllis bulbs in vases

3. I rinse out the vases, remove the rotting roots, add fresh water

amaryllis bulbs in vases

first crocus roots

I only started these 10 days ago and already I can see roots! Note they are sitting in water. Crocus bulbs seem to need that whereas hyacinth bulbs do not.

forced crocus bulbs with roots

I also found these 2 vases I'd forgotten about and put some crocus bulbs in them. They aren't "official" crocus vases, unlike those above, but seem a suitable size and shape to hold the bulb above (and half-in) the water. Typical Italian (Venetian?) painted vases of the 50s/60s ? Think they both have labels that say "Italy" on the bottom. I have a stand for the size of the one on the right which came with the 3 amethyst vases a few photos below. I've bought the odd one singly. Not sure how they'll look in a stand with a crocus but will try them and see. I do prefer the blue to the amethyst colour.

crocus bulbs in vases

Crocus and Muscari Forcing

The hyacinths are finally all started and in the cellar in the dark so it's time to press on with the smaller bulbs, crocus and muscari. I'll get to the tulips last. The first step is to get all the crocus vases out.

forcing crocus bulbs

I find the large Dutch crocus bulbs are the best for forcing, although the small species crocus are sold at Sainsbury's so often fall back on them in case I run out. I started out with the large bulbs from Peter Nyssen. The crocus vases need to be filled with water touching the bulbs, unlike hyacinths which mustn't sit in water.

forcing crocus bulbs

I forgot about my Wedgwood hedgehog! I thought I'd take some bulbs out of those clear vases which, let's face it, are rather boring.

forcing crocus bulbs

I also found a few leftover large crocus bulbs so I managed to plant up the hedgehog with all large bulbs except for a couple smaller ones. I only bought this earlier this year (on ebay) so haven't used it before. It was rather difficult to plant up, keeping the crocus bulbs sticking out the holes and filling it with compost. Now the challenge to keep it well watered.

wedgwood hedgehog planted with crocus

I need to put the muscari bulbs in pots in compost or on top of pebbles or shells, etc. They will NOT grow in a vase with water alone like the crocus bulbs.

muscari bulb forcing


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