The first thing to say about this past season's forcing results is that they weren't very good. The warm winter worked against bulbs producing blooms early and indoors as they had not had a proper cold period outdoors (or in the cellar).
My record-keeping wasn't the best but the notes I do have are:
Carnegie x 5
I didn't have many, if any, white hyacinths that stuck out as really good examples. Carnegie similar to White Pearl.
Delft Blue x 33+
3 wilted before opening properly, 1 was bent over and never straightened up and 1 was soft and rotten. As I bought so many of these it's difficult to draw too many conclusions from those results. Still my favourite hyacinth.
Gypsy Princess x 8 in both vases and bowls
Yellow hyacinths do not force well, whether Gypsy Princess or City of Haarlem or any others I have come across. I will not be wasting any more time and money on yellow hyacinths of any variety. Below, the two on the left are my best results with Gypsy Princess. The one at the back which hasn't even opened is more typical of my results.
Jan Bos x 8
The usual wilting before opening properly, two examples on the mantel below to the right and left of the elephants. I don't think I'll do these again.
Pink Pearl x 7+
Variable results but some looked really good.
Royal Navy x 8
Splendid Cornelia x 8
These were a surprising success, I don't think I've used them before.
White Pearl x 12
Stunted, sparse and brief flowering time. Not nearly as good as other white varieties I have used.
Woodstock x 8
disappointing results as always, I don't want to use this variety again
Mixed results with the crocus. This crocus bowl is not very successful; as most of the bulbs are not touching the water? It's difficult to find a bulb that is the right size to touch the water but not so small that it falls in. Compare the crocus bowl with that blue and white pot on the windowsill in the background; I think just about every crocus bulb (Firefly) in it bloomed.
I have had some wonderful results with the crocus bulbs but if one looks carefully, the same bulb has produced multiple buds. 3 of the 5 Spring Beauty crocus in this Shorter and Son trough have bloomed, one with 3 flowers, one with two and one with 1 flower. A previous blog entry below shows the geese trough, also with Spring Beauty crocus, so that seems to be a good variety of very small bulbs that will fit in the Shorter and Son troughs. What did people in the 1930s actually use them for?
a week later and new blooms still coming; this crocus Spring Beauty has been a great performer
Although these are mostly wilted, it shows how many flowers will be produced by one bulb - if it actually flowers.
that new crocus bud above, wide open below
I think with these (below) it's time to call it a day. If they haven't flowered by now, they aren't going to. What I'm seeing is lots of buds but they are dried and wilting inside before they actually flower.
I bought about 150 crocus bulbs of various kinds, sadly I did not have that many in bloom.
I've had great results with the muscari outdoors and after years trying to "force" them, I have reached the conclusion there is no forcing them! They will not bloom a day sooner indoors than they will outdoors.
I have not had good results this year with the daffodils indoors. They are blooming earlier outdoors, as above, than the ones I had indoors. I'm not sure if that was down to the warm winter or not. I think I need to try once more before I give up on them.
I only had a few iris in bloom but I only bought 15 of each of iris reticulata Pauline and one just labelled dwarf. I love purple flowers so it's difficult to give up on these but, like the daffodils, the iris that were outdoors did better than the ones inside.
Just for my own records I bought:
prepared hyacinths Ann Mary (Broadleigh Bulbs), Delft Blue (loose Taylors), Jan Bos (Taylors packaged), L'Innocence (Broadleigh Bulbs), Pink Pearl (loose Taylors), White Pearl (loose Taylors)
unprepared hyacinths Carnegie 2 packs at 6 for 2.99, Gypsy Princess 2 packs at 4 for 2.99, Royal Navy 2 packs at 4 for 3.99, Splendid Cornelia 2 packs at 4 for 2.99, Woodstock 2 packs at 4 for 2.99 (all Taylors packaged)
Iris Pauline at 15 for 1.99, Dwarf 15 for 1.99 both Taylors packaged
Narcissus Little Gem 10 for 2.49, Tete-a-tete 25 for 5.99 of which 5 were empty dry husks, garden centre replaced with another pack and 5 of those were empty dry husks
praestans Van Tubergen's 12 for £3 from Sainsburys
Dwarf Praestans 2 packs at 10 for 2.49, Red Hunter 2 packs at 8 for 2.49, Persian Pearl 8 for 2.49, Little Beauty 10 for 2.99, National Velvet 2 packs at 7 for 2.99 planted outdoors. 25 Little Princess tulips from Broadleigh Bulbs.
30 asst'd chrysanthus for £3 Sainsburys, Vanguard 12 for 3.99, 15 Blue for 2.99, 15 Purple for 2.99, Spring Beauty 12 for 2.49, Firefly 15 for 2.49, Species Mixed 60 for 5.99, Large Mixed 15 for 2.99, Spring Sparkle 25 for 4.99
It's frightening how much I spent on bulbs and the number I didn't get any flowers from.