Welcome to my blog about bulb forcing

bulb bowls hyacinth cat

The bulb forcing year starts in August/September buying bulbs. Then the bulbs quietly grow roots in the dark until the beginning of December when they are brought into the light and warmth and can begin blooming from Christmas day onwards when it is magic to have flowers and scent indoors in the middle of winter.

I force about 200 hyacinth bulbs each year. I try different hyacinth varieties from different bulb companies and compare how they perform. I'm always trying to formulate the best ways to force hyacinths and this is the documentation of my results. I also have a site devoted to hyacinth vases (www.hyacinthvases.org.uk).                       (please note that all text and images are copyright)

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start of the forcing season September 2019

September is the start of the forcing season, especially if you want hyacinths in bloom on Christmas day. The prepared bulbs are available for sale. I ordered mine in August (and received them 11-9-2019) but I believe some bulb companies have them in May (Chelsea time) in their catalogues, but still to be delivered in September.

Firstly, I printed off my spreadsheet of vases where I note which hyacinth variety I put in each vase and got some spare labels for any vases not labelled. I do like to think of which hyacinth might look best in each vase but it can get a bit haphazard but I do know I used Woodstock in that small uranium vase with the prongs.

forcing hyacinth bulbs for Christmas

fill the vases with water to just below the hyacinth bulb then put the vases in the dark, check them regularly after about 8 weeks

forcing hyacinth bulbs

I usually have lots of cats appearing when I start organising my hyacinths but only this sweet boy with the massive paws (he's polydactyl) came and started playing with the bulbs

forcing hyacinths

I bring out about 6 vases at a time (from boxes in the cellar). I remembered Sainsbury's have a new hyacinth vase for sale so of course, I had to try one.

forcing hyacinths for Christmas

I disagree with the instructions that say have the water touching the bulb; I think the bulbs would rot.

sainsburys hyacinth vase

I only have 1 of my bulb orders so I don't have the largest bulbs I ordered so cannot start some of the vases with larger openings (3 on the right).

forcing hyacinths for Christmas

the Woodstock hyacinth bulbs are a bit smaller so suitable for some of the smaller vases and some vases that are suitable for different size bulbs

forcing hyacinths for Christmas

continuing the next day (this is going to be days of work), my one female cat, Polly Pocket came out, guess she's more comfortable if the boys aren't there

forcing hyacinths for Christmas

I do love the tall cobalt blue vases, probably they're my favourite, but I also like the short also Victorian vases in jewel colours, the Victorian terracotta vases and the odd modern ones. The clear engraved ones are from Cox and Cox and have labels on their bases. I only got them recently on ebay so didn't know for sure about them. Someone had told me the engraving was just a clear sticker applied to them but these are actually engraved, slightly different sizes. My one "Mary Gregory" hyacinth vase above, very tasteful IMHO, compared to some Mary Gregory designs.

forcing hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases for Christmas

I had to get the torch to look for all the "x-shape" vases (don't know a better term for them) as I thought they'd be nice with the same variety.

forcing hyacinth vases for Christmas

Scarecrow showing his massive polydactyl paws. I've put the catnip on the table for him.

hyacinth bulb bowl

I think I might have too many bulb bowls. I think some of these will be on ebay soon. The 4 on the left at the back are all the same, as are those two large ones back right. I didn't count these properly as hyacinth bulb requirements so I need to buy more bulbs.

hyacinth bulb bowls

Last Hyacinths - February 2019

hyacinth

Apricot Passion hyacinth

Apricot Passion hyacinth

hyacinth in hyacinth vase

Miss Saigon hyacinths bulb bowl

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

Crocus in bloom

Crocus in bloom mid-January 2019

forced crocus in bloom in crocus vase

forced crocus in crocus vase

forced crocus

forced crocus in crocus bowl

forced crocus in vases

forced crocus

forced crocus in bloom

hyacinths end of January 2019

hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases and bowl

hyacinths in bloom in vases and bulb bowl

today's hyacinths

January 11th, hyacinths in bloom, after the Delft Blue hyacinths are past their peak, the next wave of hyacinth blooms

hyacinths in hyacinth vases in bloom

hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in bloom in hyacinth vases

Miss Saigon hyacinths

Miss Saigon hyacinths

Scarecrow

cat with hyacinths

some purple crocus just opening

crocus in bloom

more January hyacinths

an update on the January hyacinths which are looking better and better

Delft Blue hyacinths

the Sainsburys hyacinths on the other side, I needed small bulbs to fit in those Dartington vases

Sainsburys hyacinths

Delft Blue hyacinths

Apricot Passion hyacinths in Davidson bulb bowl

Apricot Passion hyacinths in Davidson bulb bowl

Ann Mary hyacinths in bulb bowl

Ann Mary hyacinths in bulb bowl

Delft Blue hyacinths in a SylvaC pot

Delft Blue hyacinths SylvaC pot

more Delft Blue hyacinths just starting to bloom

Delft Blue hyacinths

Jan Bos hyacinths

Jan Bos hyacinths

Jan Bos hyacinths

Caribbean Dream

caribbean dream hyacinth

bulb bowls with a variety of sizes of hyacinths, even though all the hyacinths in a bowl were started at the same time

hyacinth bulb bowls

Apricot Passion hyacinths

Hyacinths New Year's Day 2019

The Delft Blue hyacinths are really reaching their peak, the smell is exquisite

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

hyacinth bulb bowls

the bulb bowls a couple days later, Davidson bulb bowl with Apricot Passion hyacinths

apricot passion hyacinths in bulb bowl

Ann Mary hyacinths in bulb bowl

Ann Mary hyacinths in bulb bowl

Jan Bos hyacinths in a repurposed tureen

Jan Bos hyacinths in repurposed tureen

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

hyacinths in hyacinth vases and bulb bowl

hyacinths in hyacinth vases

Boxing Day Hyacinths in Bloom December 2018

Delft Blue

Delft Blue forced hyacinth

Delft Blue close-up

Delft Blue hyacinth close-up

sometimes the hyacinths bend over, I don't know why or what to do about it

Delft Blue forced hyacinth

forced hyacinths

White Pearl, Delft Blue and Jan Bos hyacinths in bloom

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases in bloom

forced hyacinths in bloom

forced hyacinths in bloom

Jan Bos hyacinths

Jan Bos forced hyacinths in bloom

White Pearl hyacinths

white pearl hyacinths

some hyacinths in bud

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases in bud

hyacinths on Christmas day

hyacinths in Golden Syrup tins

some flowers and buds a few days previous

forced hyacinth flowers and buds

close-up of one of the Delft Blue hyacinths

forced Delft Blue hyacinth

close-up of some of the buds

forced hyacinth buds

November 2018 Hyacinths Out of the Dark

I've been taking lots of hyacinths out of the cellar the in the last 10 days, starting on November 19th. The time is different every year, going by how they look. The bulge of the flower must be out of the bulb.

hyacinth growing in hyacinth vase

hyacinth vases

hyacinth vase, pot and bulb bowl

hyacinths in pots

hyacinth vases

Scarecrow and hyacinth vases

hyacinth vases

hyacinth vases

checking on the bulbs end of October

I checked on the bulbs yesterday and watered the pots. The vases generally don't need topping up as the bulb is like a plug limiting evaporation but the pots need watering - which is my least favourite task. I found myself wondering why did I have to plant so many bulbs!

hyacinth vases with hyacinth bulbs with developing roots

hyacinth bulbs growing in Golden Syrup tins

crocus vases with large Dutch crocus bulbs, which I usually use for forcing, with curly roots developing, the odd vase has no roots like the 2nd from left below, these are just a selection

crocus vases with large Dutch crocus bulbs with curly roots developing

these crocus vases have straight roots developing from crocus chrysanthus bulbs which I guess I decided to try (I was starting so many I can't even remember now but I do know these were sold at Sainsbury's so easier to get than the large Dutch crocus which required a trip to the garden centre or order from Peter Nyssen)

crocus vases with crocus chrysanthus bulbs with straight roots developing

Shorter and other troughs with the crocus chrysanthus bulbs

Shorter troughs with crocus chrysanthus

I dont' know why that one bulb has such a long stem shooting up

Shorter troughs with small bulbs growing

I don't know why these have leggy stems - or what to do about them. Does one bring them out as they are so developed or leave them to struggle in the dark??

pots with small bulbs growing

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