ju1i3's blog

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

Christmas Eve

this is my best hyacinth so far this year (2015/2016 forcing season)

an exquisite bud just opening (B. Delft Blue)

another exquisite bud just opening (JP. Delft Blue)

I also reviewed all the hyacinths in the living room:

(2 Tye and uranium vases deJ. Delft Blue)

seeing the vases like this I realize I need to top some of them up with water

the cranberry vases (both the glassroots and the squat round one) have very fat buds, I just hope they grow a bit higher

(cranberry vases B. Delft Blue)

I still don't know what makes them bend over, sometimes they straighten up, sometimes they don't

the hyacinth bulb in the amethyst vase in the middle is completely rotten, soft and smelly! it went straight out to the compost pile (PN Delft Blue)

another Sky Jacket hyacinth in the green vase below looking purple rather than pale blue

(JP Sky Jacket)

(all vases below, PN Delft Blue)

the flower in the middle below doesn't look very well

a close-up of it

and this is on the kitchen windowsill

(B. Delft Blue)

few days before Christmas

these are the hyacinths I have in bloom today (21-12-2015), I hope the flowers that seem "stuck" will grow up a bit more, like the Delft Blue on the left and the Splendid Cornelia (?) in the middle

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

these are the hyacinths that were in bloom the day before, the purple hyacinth on the left (and at the back) were supposed to be Sky Jacket, which I've used before so familiar with their pale blue colour, but these sure don't look like Sky Jacket to me

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases


I wasn't meaning to take any more vases out of the cellar this week but while getting out the xmas decs I saw these and realised I just had to get them out into daylight

this Mary Gregory vase is one of my favourites, I think some Mary Gregory designs can look a little tacky but this one is quite tasteful and unlike some vases with this sort of applied feet, this has no chips at all and the hyacinth bulb I used for it - how fat and magnificent! (the cranberry vases below also have great fat buds)

my first hyacinth in bloom - and I don't even know which variety! I tried to note which variety in each vase but wasn't so careful with the pots

this is a better view of the split bulb from the following pic

some vases and pots recently out of the cellar, they will green up after being in the sun for a day or two

lots of roots showing through the vases

it's harder to assess whether crocus are ready to come out of the cellar as there's no bulge  of the flower to see on the stems, it's just guess-work whether they look tall enough

some of the crocus bulbs are quite mouldy and I discarded them

mouldy crocus bulbs

the following buds are starting to show some colour

the bulb in the silver vase on the right only had the bulblet growing without a main bud

I put that bulb in some soil and now there's a bud emerging, plus the bulblet still growing

I've sorted the vases by hyacinth variety (upstairs and downstairs), this is Anne Marie (downstairs):

they were supposed to be Sky Jacket (downstairs) but they don't look like it to me:

and 1 upstairs:

Fairy White (downstairs):

fairy white hyacinth

Delft Blue from 1 supplier (downstairs):

Delft Blue from another supplier (upstairs):

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

and (downstairs):

Delft Blue from another supplier (upstairs):

delft blue hyacinths in hyacinth vases

and (downstairs):

Delft Blue from another supplier (upstairs), the water in that vase on the right in front looks a little cloudy, the bulb and/or roots are a little rotten, refreshed the water and removed the rotten roots, hope it will still bloom ok

delft blue hyacinths in hyacinth vases

and (downstairs):

everything is happening now with the hyacinths

I've had to bring some of the vases upstairs, still experimenting with where to put them

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

I love this Victorian wirework plant stand but like the table above I worry about stability

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

the kitchen widowsill is still the main place for the vases in my house

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

second week of December

more vases out of the cellar, when they first come out the buds are not very green but after a day or so in the sunlight they green up

hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

the bulb in the tall blue vase below wasn't sitting quite right, I pulled the bulb out a little and discovered two bulblets growing into the water, just visible in the first pic (nb this one has been out of the cellar since the 1st or 2nd Dec, it's quite green)

hyacinth bulb with bulblet in hyacinth vase

hyacinth bulb with bulblets in hyacinth vase

I carefully broke off the bulblets with their roots attached. I planted them in a pot outside. Regardless of how careful I was, those long roots on the one on the right broke off but there were still those shorter ones so hope it will grow.

hyacinth bulblets

the windowsill is now full, I need to take some of the vases upstairs, I use a plastic box to carry them as I'm worried there might be an accident, one vase wouldn't even stay upright as it has a wobbly base, think the one on the front right below but I'll take a pic today (7-12-2015)

this is the wobbly vase


first week of December

These are all my hyacinth bulbs out of the dark so far.

hyacinth vases

After the first lot shown below from December 1st, I took more out the next day. I want to show how the bulbs look when they are ready to come out of the dark. Maybe some of this is my instinct and experience but I like making things as easy  as possible so anyone can do it.

the green flower bud is emerging from the bulb

forced hyacinth bulb

forced hyacinth bulb

sometimes you can see the green flower but sometimes you need to go by the shape, eg the Tye vase, left below

hyacinth vases

hyacinth vases

when the stem is opening up (and the bulge of the flower has moved up), they are ready to come out of the dark

forced hyacinth bulbs in hyacinth vases

The bulbs in the front, left and right, show the green flower emerging from the bulbs. The downside of a container with more than one bulb, whether bulb fibre or pebbles and water (as on the left), the bulbs may develop at different rates, eg the one in the middle is noticeably smaller. I guess I tend to bring the container out into the light when some bulbs are ready and hope the less developed bulbs catch up.

forced hyacinth bulbs

December 1st is the traditional time to get bulbs out of the dark if they are to bloom by Christmas. They need to have the bulge of the flower out of the bulb. This was my first lot out of the cellar.

hyacinth vases

Some of the bulbs have differently shaped buds depending on which variety, eg back left looks like Delft Blue, the small one in the frilled vase back right looks distinctive, can't remember the variety right now but I can say not Delft Blue.  Will check my notes later today and update which varieties are in each vase.

Tye hyacinth vase

the vase on the left is by GP Tye and marked as such on the bottom, the vase on the right is extremely similar but unmarked and I am certain it is NOT Tye, I have other similar examples which will be out of the cellar in coming weeks so I will be able to post pics of them soon

when these 2 vases are compared, they are extremely similar but I can see the vase behind on either side

update on the bulbs' progress

I had to go in the cellar today to check the bulbs, topping them up with water, as required. These are the pots and bulb bowls. One of the bulbs at the bottom right is pushing right out of the pots. I put a bit of soil in around the roots, the best I could.

Some of the bulbs in the bulb bowls look quite poor. If I hadn't forced hyacinths successfully in them before, based on these, I probably wouldn't carry on with this method, and I wouldn't use some of these bulb suppliers.

bulb bowl 1, Splendid Cornelia, so far so good, all have stems sprouting and some roots

hyacinth bulb bowl

bulb bowl 2, 2 Splendid Cornelia and 2 Delft Blue (I think, at some point things get confused with so many bulbs to start)

hyacinth bulb bowl

bulbs from bulb bowl 2, not good at all

bulb bowl 3, Miss Saigon (look terrible: split and mouldy, only 2 bulbs have sprouts)

hyacinth bulb bowl

bulbs from bulb bowl 3, very few roots

bulb bowl 4, Miss Saigon, variable roots

hyacinth bulb bowl

bulb bowl 5, Sky Jacket and Miss Saigon in the middle, all have short roots except middle bulb has none

hyacinth bulb bowl

Some bulbs in the vases are doing better than others, this one is one of the better ones, interesting as this isn't even an "official" hyacinth vase. The roots look great but not ready to come out of the cellar yet. The bulge of the flower has to come out from the bulb. Another few weeks and this will come inside and may be flowering for Christmas.

These two bulbs are completely rotten, they are sinking right down into the vases, and what a smell when I emptied the vases!

hyacinth vases

This is typical of some of the poorer bulbs, shriveled and no roots. Does not appear to have green shoot starting at the top, only the bulblet on the left appears to be growing.

The crocus bulb from the vase on the right was thoroughly mouldy and needed discarding, the one on the left is also mouldy but may bloom eventually.

starting the amaryllis

end of November

After about 10 days the amaryllis have green shoots starting. Also, below on the right, is an amethyst hyacinth vase I bought recently so had to get another bulb for it. The boxes of prepared hyacinth bulbs at the garden centre are looking pretty depleted, and most of the bulbs left are a bit soft and have green shoots. I think I found one of the better ones, with only the tiniest shoot, in the Jan Bos box but who knows if it really is that as the bulbs get mixed up. There's space on the window sill for a cat between the cat grass (Victor below) but once the hyacinth vases start coming up from the cellar every bit of space on the window sill will be taken up.

early November

3 amaryllis vases with enormous bulb (no shoots yet), I don't think I've ever had such large bulbs. The vase on the right is from Ikea. I think I had 3 at one time, 2 broke. I had some other good ones - like large hyacinth vases but they each got broken. The red one in the middle seems to be the most stable but the amaryllis bulb hardly fits in it this year.

amaryllis vases

At this time of year when I start taking lots of pics of vases on this windowsill I am reminded I need to clean it up! and get the ladder out and do the windws from outside.


Going near a garden centre this time of year is dangerous for me. I just wanted 2 hyacinth bulbs for these new cobalt blue vases and I came home with all this!

The stocks of prepared bulbs are limited now. All the white pearl hyacinth bulbs were not as firm as they might be and they all seemed to have bulblets. I would ordinarily remove the bulblets before starting the hyacinths but I thought I could see how long it takes for the bulblets to reach flowering - how many years. I didn't really think it through because when I got the bulbs home and went to put them in the vases they wouldn't fit and while deciding on the strategy of growing the bulblets I had gone a bit mad and bought 8 bulbs rather than the 2 I needed.

white pearl hyacinth vases

I presume the bulblets will grow through the compost and reach the light.

white pearl hyacinth bulbs in pots

I usually think I won't do amaryllis as they are rather expensive but then I see those huge bulbs and can't resist. They look massive in those vases. The clear vase I bought a few years ago as an amaryllis vase. It came in a box with a bulb. The red one I bought recently on ebay. It's the most stable amaryllis vase I've used.

While I was there I thought I might as well get some large Dutch crocus for my crocus bowl. The small species crocus I had were too small and would have fallen through. AND while I was there I couldn't resist having another go with anemones. I had that Harmony Orchid anemone self-seeding (see gardenwithoutdoors) and was impressed and I love those and ranunculus which the pack said they do well with.


Subscribe to RSS - ju1i3's blog