August 2016

It's time to buy bulbs. I placed 3 bulb orders (with Peter Nyssen, deJager and Bloms) this week as it's getting a bit late. August can be the time the prepared hyacinth bulbs are in the garden centre but when I went on Wednesday (couple days ago) and asked they unhelpfully said, could be September, could be October. I hate that garden centre. It has 1 advantage only: it's within walking distance. Even though I ordered some hyacinth bulbs I did want to see what the garden centre had - and of course probably buy more bulbs.

I only bought a few new vases this year, the modern one on the left (Ravenhead Naturals), shown with the 2 others just to compare the sizes, the amethyst one in a pic below on the windowsill with Socks and a similar green one below.

hyacinth vases

a vintage vase I bought at Alexandra Palace antiques fair earlier in the year, similar to the amethyst one posted in February below

hyacinth vase

an early start

a few days later, all 3 are in full bloom

amaryllis

They wanted to grow and I let them! and a couple weeks later, it's like Christmas in August.

amaryllis

end of July 2016

I don't usually update my garden withindoors quite so early but I found these amaryllis bulbs with not only green leaves but buds! in a bucket under the stairs so pretty much dark and dry but they wanted to grow!

amaryllis

fresh roots growing

amaryllis

I've potted them up as 1. I am fed up with amaryllis falling over in vases on water alone and 2. these were previously grown that way and have had no nutrition since then and I figure they need it. I haven't grown an amaryllis in a pot for years so will see how these do. It's not the usual time I would grow them if I was growing them (to me they're for Christmas) but they've decided to grow now and I've so thoroughly abused them I will try to make up for it and give them their way.

amaryllis

 

Bulb Orders

And, of course, aside from the amaryllis growing, it's time to think about ordering prepared bulbs. I am making a wish list.

end of the forcing season

I wanted to post a final photo to sum up bulb forcing for the end of the season

forced hyacinth bulbs in vases

I have compiled my forcing results for the 2015/2016 season.

crocus are going mad outside, I didn't have any in bloom indoors

2 items I bought at the Alexandra Palace antiques fair today (7-2-2016, all items look better with a cat in the pic!). The kind of glass I like best: bit wonky from hand-blowing, high kick-ups (dome inside at the base), pontil marks underneath and brilliant colours. I am happy with these finds today.

hyacinth vase and leech pot

fourth week of January

the remaining hyacinths - still looking and smelling great

When I'm in the midst of the forcing season I don't have time to properly deal with the spent bulbs, especially if it's very cold and wet. When I saw this crocus blooming on the compost pile yesterday I  decided I just had to try to plant the bulbs in the ground.

crocus blooming in compost pile

Planting these were the last thing I felt like doing! but I just had to. It was a bit warmer, the ice had melted so that was a good day to do it. I know forcing bulbs can be challenging. We just have to do what we can do - same with gardening outdoors. Let's do what we can and enjoy it.

spent hyacinth bulbs

a hyacinth is growing in front of the compost pile

bulbs that started off as indoors bulbs but now are outdoor bulbs

the outdoor bulbs a few days later

a close-up of the hyacinth bulbs, they have distinctive leaf colouring, this one I think is Delft Blue (left above)

I think this is Jan Bos (right above)

third week of January

This Miss Saigon hyacinth flower is one of the best this year. Better to ignore its roots outside the bulb bowl and the other bulbs left behind while it grows taller and develops a beautiful flower.

Miss Saigon hyacinth flower forced

I discovered these muscari in bloom outside. I can't believe they are so early. The weather has been crazy.

muscari in golden syrup tin

as soon as I started taking pics Socks had to start chewing the leaves (he has since thrown up)

these are the last hyacinths in bud and bloom

forced hyacinths in bloom

I think I must have bought more Skyline hyacinth bulbs than I at first thought as more are growing and blooming and becoming identifiable. Some of the Skyline flowers have opened up a bit better than others, such as the one on the left in the Hornsea Cirrus bulb pot. I was so happy with those Christmassy golden syrup tins but the hyacinths weren't even in bloom for Christmas, maybe some won't even bloom until the end of January!

skyline hyacinth forced blooms in hyacinth vases

some Skyline flowers never did develop properly

spent Skyline hyacinths

I wanted to properly compare the hyacinth flower colours, left to right: Miss Saigon, Splendid Cornelia, Anne Marie

comparison of hyacinth colours

as of January 21st these are the remaining hyacinths in bud, I would take the 2 best bulbs out of the bulb pot but the roots (from all 4 bulbs) are so tangled they would be destroyed

forced hyacinths in bud

I'm just about ready to call it a day with the crocus bulbs, plenty of roots and stem but no flowers. I have crocus outdoors in bloom, indoors they are supposed to be earlier. Why do I still keep growing the amaryllis bulbs in vases?? They are spectacular but they fall over. That one in the middle broke the flower stem when it fell and the amaryllis in the  big red vase on the right also fell over. Although you can see the bulbs are massive in size and way too big for the vases.

second week of January

some of my best hyacinths this forcing season, I can't stop taking pics of this corner of the windowsill

hyacinths in forcing vases

the pink hyacinths were looking a bit sparse but they've really filled out

hyacinths blooming in hyacinth vases

hyacinths blooming in forcing vases

Victor and Socks looking totally indifferent to the hyacinths

cats and hyacinth vases

These are the remaining hyacinths today (14th Jan). Most in bloom but a few unopened buds.

hyacinth vases

the bulb bowl on the table has 3 hyacinth bulbs in very different sizes and 1 bulb that looks dead

I've discarded the 2 bulbs on the right (above) and put the other 2 in vases (below)

Close-up of some of the new (to me, I haven't grown them before) varieties of  hyacinths: Miss Saigon, Skyline, Fairy White. I love the way the Miss Saigon florets are bluish at their base. All the Miss Saigon bulbs I've grown this year are unprepared. They've forced very well unlike the Skyline which are prepared but don't seem to have grown properly or flowered properly.

hyacinth flowers in forcing vases

These 3 Skyline (lavender) are the only 3 bulbs of that variety I used this year as I had late purchases (2 vases and 1 bulb pot) to find bulbs for and those were the variety in the garden centre bins. Miss Saigon I've bought from 4 different suppliers, unprepared but they've forced ok.

hyacinth flowers in forcing vases

some hyacinths in bloom mid-January, tall amethyst vase Taylors Sky Line or Skyline (have seen it both spellings), green Tye vase Bloms Delft Blue, green squat left front is a very undeveloped deJager Delft Blue only the tiniest sprout out of the bulb, not ready to come out of the cellar but fear it won't ever be ready (other hyacinth varieties noted in following pics)

hyacinths in forcing vases

Peter Nyssen Fairy White on the left, deJager Delft Blue on the right

hyacinths in forcing vases

Peter Nyssen Miss Saigon - small but gorgeous buds, Fairy White on the right - also a bit small but very nice, think the Hornsea Cirrus bulb pot has Skyline but I bought it loose at the garden centre end of October and by then the bulbs were a bit mixed up

hyacinths in forcing vases

J Parkers Miss Saigon

hyacinth in prattware vase

J Parkers Miss Saigon?? that must be a mistake, their Sky Jacket turned out to be that colour, but I didn't realise other bulb(s) were also mixed up

hyacinth flower in forcing vase

last bulb bowls up from the cellar

I've had my pink hyacinths (Anne Marie/Ann Mary, Pink Pearl) in bloom before other varieties in past years but this year they are much later. (left to right, blue vases: 11 Peter Nyssen Anne Marie very sparse, 15 Peter Nyssen Anne Marie, 72 Bloms Bulbs Anne Marie, 92 or 93 Hornsea Cirrus bulb pot Peter Nyssen Anne Marie)

some of the latest vases up from the cellar, none of the bulbs are looking good, I'm not even taking these inside

hyacinth vases

none of those bulbs are worth keeping, I'm discarding them: (left to right) Bloms Anne Marie, Peter Nyssen Anne Marie, Peter Nyssen Anne Marie, deJager Delft Blue, deJager Delft Blue

these are the rest of the vases I brought up from the cellar today (11 Jan) and I'm going to try to keep them growing: (left to right): J Parkers Delft Blue, deJager Delft Blue, J Parkers Delft Blue, J Parkers Delft Blue

hyacinth bulb vases

the roots in the clear vases are visible above, the blue vase bulb is turned upside down, left below and has some short roots, pulling up the green vase bulb below right shows some good roots

a few days ago I also brought up the last of the bulb bowls

I was hoping some of the bulbs in the remaing bowls would catch up a little with the larger ones but no luck so far so I thought they really need to come upstairs even if only 1 bulb in each is going to bloom. Some of the crocus bulbs have very developed roots some have no roots at all. Bowl 4 on the left with Miss Saigon from 2 different suppliers, bowl 2 in the middle with 2 Splendid Cornelia and Miss Saigon and/or Delft Blue (that one got a bit confused), crocus bowl on the right.

hyacinths and crocus forced in bulb bowls

I just realized I hadn't uploaded this pic of the crocus vases which I took a week ago. Still no flowers but lots of roots.

crocus forcing vases

The Christmas-themed golden syrup tins are disappointingly out of season now. They were only ready to come up from the cellar this past week. The usual problems with amaryllis bulbs, not just falling over and breaking (therefore that short-stemmed flower in a vase) but one of the vases having a crack and leaking the water out and staining the table. Maybe the crack happened when they fell over?

hyacinth forcing vases

J Parkers Delft Blue looking a bit small but perfectly formed

hyacinth vase

bulb bowl 3 with deJager Miss Saigon

hyacinths blooming in a bulb bowl

bulb bowl 5 all bulbs bloomed (J Parkers "Sky Jacket" and Miss Saigon in the middle) but great variation in heights

hyacinths blooming in bulb bowl

bulb bowl 1 deJager Splendid Cornelia, only 1 bloomed

hyacinth bulbs in bulb bowl

another view of that bulb bowl from above, bulb flower buds on the left and on the right are both brown and dead

first week in January

Quick update on the hyacinths upstairs today (6-1-2016), that Bloms Delft Blue in the Mary Gregory vase has turned out very well. (left to right, 44, 51, 71, 53, 96, 98)

I'm pleased with the White Pearl hyacinths, even though they are a bit short, on the left is an unprepared Peter Nyssen Miss Saigon.

(left to right 14, 30, 31, 3, 45)

Quick update on the hyacinths downstairs, today (4-1-2016) as everything is changing so quickly, moving along the windowsill from left to right:

1. left

2. middle

3. right

Yesterday, I've discovered a few problems today (3-1-2016). The green vase (back left) has a shrunken bulb that has sunk into the water and is rotting.

The rest of the Fairy White hyacinths are looking good.

Fairy White forced hyacinth

Fairy White forced hyacinth

any bulbs I have in pots with bulb fibre/compost have those small annoying black flying insects (fungus gnats) so I have banished these outside, the 2 pots on the left have a rotted hyacinth bud each so not much point in keeping them indoors, the pot on the right had 2 of the hyacinths in bloom almost spent

as well as that green vase that has a rotting bulb, the Prattware vase below right also has a bulb that is not big enough and it is falling into the water and rotting

None of the mail order bulbs is large enough to fit in some of these very wide mouth vases without possibly sinking in - bulbs do seem to shrink a bit as they grow. Back to the bins of bulbs from the garden centre! at least for the few vases needing large bulbs which I will now mark as such on my spreadsheet.

I bought these prepared White Pearl bulbs for some late vase purchases but bought too many so just had to put them in any pots to hand. They all seemed to have bulblets which I will try to grow on.

White Pearl hyacinths

The Cirrus Hornsea bulb pot in the first pic above is also from the garden centre bins, although not sure which variety. Some of the vases upstairs also have those larger bulbs as these were recently purchased vases: Skyline on the left and Jan Bos on the right.

(I moved these vases to the radiator under the window just to get as much light as possible to photograph them on a pretty dismal January day but hyacinths should not be anywhere near a radiator!)

vases 53 (Peter Nyssen Delft Blue) and 71 (Peter Nyssen Miss Saigon)

(btw the numbers are just for my records to keep everything straight, I have labels on the bottom of each vase)

the bulbs in these vases (above and below) are not looking well at all but will await flowering

unprepared Peter Nyssen Miss Saigon on the left below looking pretty good and one of the garden centre White Pearl on the right (vases 14 and 45)

vase 46 and 45 again (not sure why I included that vase again) both with White Pearl

Peter Nyssen Miss Saigon on the left and deJager Delft Blue on the right below (vases 30 and 3)

few days after Christmas

selection of hyacinths on New Year's Eve, some are updates of recent photos

I'm not sure what variety these dark purple hyacinths are - certainly not one I ordered. They were supposed to be Sky Jacket but obviously are not but they are quite attractive; I love purple flowers.

I tend to use white hyacinths in green vases, this year Fairy White, flowers a bit small but pleasant enough. I think the small ones in the square vase are the ones from Sainsburys. They are surprisingly good.

this bulb bowl (above right and below) has "Sky Jacket" which I'm fairly sure has been a mistake from the supplier

vase 12 with J Parkers Delft Blue, great example

I had some rather small bulbs, from a multi-pack from Sainsburys which didn't even have varieties marked. This flower is small but a nice colour and well-formed. It's coping well with a small rose bowl filled with pebbles. More of those bulbs in the square vase above.

pink Stewart plastic hyacinth vase with Bloms Delft Blue

pronged vase with Bloms Delft Blue

vase 56 with Peter Nyssen Delft Blue

and some other half-brown flowers (left to right, 24. Bloms Delft Blue, 55. Peter Nyssen Delft Blue, 35. PN Delft Blue ,46. PN Delft Blue)

I'm not really sure why I pressed on with these. The bulbs look terrible and the buds not much better. Unprepared Miss Saigon from deJager.

vases in a prev pic below a few days later, they look good from this side

but not so good from this side (I just turned that vase around)

some Delft Blue hyacinths - that colour is fantastic

Delft Blue forced hyacinths

I think that pink hyacinth below is Splendid Cornelia but I'm not absolutely certain, could be Ann/Anne Marie/Mary or even Miss Saigon which I haven't grown before so not sure of its exact colour. I try to carefully note which variety of hyacinth bulb I put in each vase but get a bit haphazard with the pots.

I think those Fairy White hyacinths are looking good in the green vases

Fairy White hyacinths forced in hyacinth vases

every container is pressed into service

Anne Marie hyacinths from 2 different suppliers, buds not looking very good

anne marie hyacinths

these are mostly Fairy White, except bulb bowl on the right is bulb bowl 5 with 4 JP Sky Jacket and 1 deJ Miss Saigon in the middle and blue vase on the left with PN Delft Blue which appears to be rotting and the water turning cloudy

Fairy White forced hyacinths

bulb bowl with unprepared deJager Splendid Cornelia

bulb bowl with deJ Miss Saigon, bulbs still looking unpleasant but have fat buds that look ready to bloom soon

Merry Christmas

Christmas Day hyacinths are what bulb forcing is all about! Some recommend staggered starting to have a succession of blooms. I can't do that. I want hyacinths in bloom for Christmas so start them all at the same time to have as many flowers as possible. There are still bulbs in the cellar and some upstairs just in bud so I will still have a succesion of blooms.

Upstairs on the mantelpiece.

hyacinths in bloom on Christmas Day

Downstairs on the kitchen windowsill.

hyacinths in bloom on Christmas Day

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