I love trying to get my hyacinths in bloom for Christmas so I try to start as early as possible. Yesterday (3 Sept) I found prepared hyacinth bulbs on sale in the local garden centre. I love being able to pick my own in those crates of bulbs they put out.
The prepared bulbs have had special treatment to get them ready for forcing. I usually buy prepared bulbs but I've also tried unprepared and they forced just fine. That's not scientific though. I need to try it again in a controlled way.
The varieties of bulbs I bought:
Delft Blue, my favourite but not usually in bloom until January
White Pearl, I haven't tried this type before
Pink Pearl, the pink varieties are usually in bloom first
Jan Bos, dark pink which seems to be shorter than others but also early
Of course, I haven't been able to resist buying some new vases.
I was lucky enough to get these 3 tall 19th century churn shape green vases (on the left), early 20th century amethyst vase next to them, light green vase next (also early 20th century), front and center the most common 19th century hyacinth vase on ebay - that doesn't mean I don't love them - I do and some of the intense purple-blue examples are fab (but I do prefer those tall wonky early hand-blown ones) , next to that a pressed glass peach vase (1930's?) I've seen lots of on ebay, just never had one myself.
vintage (not sure how vintage but certainly 20th century) clear vase on the right, new vases with engraved designs to the left
amethyst Victorian squat vase amidst some new vases