next wave of hyacinths

Yesterday I replaced all the vases on the windowsill. New hyacinths are in bloom every day.

hyacinths in bloom in vases

hyacinth vases

I'm trying to make sure I have photos of each vase/pot so I can analyse how each variety of bulb and each supplier's bulbs performed. More difficult this year as I have moved some bulbs between vases, both at the beginning of the forcing process in September and more recently as some bulbs wilted early or rotted.

hyacinths in bark basket

hyacinths in improvised bulb bowl

small green vase with Aiolos white hyacinth

large bulb bowl

hyacinth vases

hyacinth vases

This was my last vase in the cellar and although the bulb wasn't ready I brought it up anyway. The bulge of the flower is not out of the bulb and I guess it never will be. It just stopped growing for some reason.

orange ByzantaWare vase

I am left with lots of wilting flowers. Without the window to support them they are bending over.

wilting hyacinths in vases

hyacinths in bulb bowls

Bulb bowls have their pros and cons. The one on the left looks great: the hyacinths have great flowers, all 5 in a similar state of development and of a similar size. The bulb bowl in the middle had a rotted bulb which is a glaring gap. The bowl on the right has two of the 5 bulbs with undeveloped flowers so also a big gap. Bulb bowls are great if all the bulbs are similar but not if one or more bulbs doesn't grow at the same rate.

hyacinths in bulb bowls

That bulb bowl on the left looks even better a few days ago, below.

hyacinths in bulb bowl

I noticed just a couple days later some of these are looking much better and on their way to looking like normal hyacinth blooms. Maybe they'll all look ok eventually. I will note progress.
stunted hyacinths

Just a couple days ago I took a photo of these stunted hyacinths, below. The flowers should have a much longer stem and be well-above the bulb, as the ones on the windowsill.

deformed vs well-formed flowers

I haven't grown Ailos before but I think these are looking great. I will definitely use this variety again.

Ailos hyacinths in bloom in vases

The following 2 images are the Sky Jacket hyacinths that looked like asparagus until they started blooming. They've filled out pretty well although the flowers are smaller than some other varieties.

SKy Jacket hyacinths in bloom in vases

Sky Jacket hyacinths in bloom in vases

purple hyacinths

I do love purple hyacinths.

purple hyacinths

There are masses of hyacinths in bloom now, mostly purple but a few other colours as well, beginning of January.

hyacinths in bloom

Exquisite but very brief iris flowers.


The bulb in the black vase on the right started to rot a little (I filled it too high with water so the bulb was sitting in water) and therefore shrank so it fell into the vase. These vases have very large openings and need the largest bulbs. I had to replace the rotting bulb with one from another vase.


I have too many hyacinth vases to fit on the windowsill - and these are just the ones in bloom and starting to bloom.

hyacinths in bloom and starting to bloom

hyacinths in vases

a black velvet cat amongst the hyacinths

A beautiful black velvet pussycat amongst the hyacinths.

black cat amongst the hyacinths

This image is similar to one below but includes the black vases and I couldn't decide which was better so I'm including both.

strange crop of vegetables

a strange vegetable

I thought these looked like a crop of a strange vegetable.

crop of strange vegetables

The hyacinths are changing day to day. Everything is happening so quickly now.

hyacinths end of December

hyacinths end of December

The last time I grew Lady Derby hyacinths the bulbs were huge and the flowers were large and full. This year the bulbs were very small as are the flowers. In fact, the bulbs were so small I could only put 1 in a vase (this Burmese vase which is quite small) and the rest I put in this SylvaC pot.

Lady Derby hyacinths

first signs of hyacinth flowers

This is my first iris on Dec 28th. It only lasted a day or two and now I have a second one but the first is wilted.

first iris

I guess I've had bent hyacinths every year, some years more than others. I seem to have 3 this year so far. The one in the green vase on the right looks like it might straighten up but the two on the left are very bent and look like staying that way.

bent hyacinths

Pink Pearl and Purple Sensation hyacinths in bloom, other varieties almost in bloom

 Two days after Christmas, the Pink Pearl hyacinths have really filled out. I guess pink hyacinths are the earliest. My earliest blooms in past years were Ann Mary, also pink.

Pink Pearl hyacinths

Purple Sensation are also early.

Purple Sensation hyacinths

Even after all my obsessive record keeping I found I had a number of question marks for which variety was in which vase and have tried to sort them the best I could, below. I guess I was in a hurry to get the vases in the cellar after waiting so long for the bulbs in September.  And I was still buying vases and bulbs until the last minute so things got confused.

As of December 27:

Delft Blue

Delft Blue hyacinths

City of Haarlem

City of Haarlem

Sky Jacket

Sky Jacket hyacinths


Aiolos hyacinths

Blue Star

Blue Star hyacinths

watering all the pots and vases

Watering is one of my worst jobs. I've been procrastinating with all my pots and vases until this morning when I've managed to catch up with the task. Most hyacinth vases don't need much topping up - the bulb seems to act as a plug preventing evaporation but the smaller bulbs (crocus and tulip) don't always fit so well and are prone to needing more regular topping up. With this many pots and vases it's a bit overwhelming!

bulbs in pots on Boxing Day

bulbs in pots and bulb bowls, above , hyacinths in bulb bowls, below

hyacinths in bulb bowls

small bulbs in vases

tulip and crocus bulbs in vases

first crocus in Tate and Lyle golden syrup and black treacle tins

first crocus in bloom in Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup and Black Treacle tins

These crocus are actually from potted crocus I bought. I would have more but I left them outside while repotting them and forgot about the squirrels. Of course they ate them all before I remembered to go and rescue them.

hyacinths for Christmas

I have a few hyacinths struggling to bloom for Christmas but it's just a bit too early for most of them. They are late this year. I couldn't even buy them until well into September so they were started later than past years and came out of the cellar later.

The earliest sparse blooms here are Pink Pearl. I don't think I've grown them before - and probably won't again. They are sparse flowers and not that scented.

pink pearl hyacinths in bloom for Christmas

These are a few different varieties, Purple Sensation in the blue and white pot and I think Pink Pearl to the left and right of the pot in the squat cobalt blue vases. I'll have to double-check.

hyacinths for Christmas

I think these are Delft Blue, almost ready to burst, and small tulips and crocus in the background.

bulb bowl with Delft Blue hyacinths

Merry Christmas!

hyacinths are coming out of the cellar

It's been a very busy week. I started bringing hyacinths out of the cellar last weekend (Dec 9th) and then more yesterday (Dec 15th). Dec 1st is the traditional date to have them out if they are to bloom by Christmas but mine just weren't ready then.

The first lot of bulbs out of the cellar.

first lot of bulbs up from the cellar

These are most of the hyacinths I took out a week ago.

hyacinths week out of cellar

These are only just out of the cellar (lighter ones on the right and on the windowsill).

hyacinths out of cellar

These are the hyacinths just out of the cellar in shorter vases.

hyacinths just out of cellar

These are the hyacinths just out of the cellar in tall vases.

hyacinths just out of cellar

These are the hyacinths after a week out of the cellar in tall vases.

hyacinths in tall vases week out of cellar

fat buds on the hyacinths

Largest hyacinth buds so far, after a week out of the cellar.

fat hyacinth flower buds

I use this plastic box to safely carry the vases up and down stairs to and from the cellar.

safe carrying of hyacinth vases

X-shaped hyacinth vases, now out of the cellar with ripe hyacinth bulbs and full of roots.

x-shaped hyacinth vases

don't worry if you didn't start any bulbs yet

Even if you didn't start any bulbs in vases you can still have hyacinths in bloom in vases for Christmas (even though I did start bulbs I couldn't resist buying more vases so I need to do this too). You can transfer bulbs in pots on sale now to vases. These near me were on sale for £1.95 for single bulbs and £3.95 for a pot of three.

pot bulbs for vases

These are my new vases which I got ready and I took the bulbs out of the pots.

pot bulbs for vases

bulb with roots rinsed off


I tried soaking the roots in water to help the soil come away and gently rinsed off the roots. After I started I belatedly realized it would have been better just to buy single bulbs as the pot of three had entangled roots, not worth the effort for the savings.

The roots turned out to be very tightly packed and a bit difficult to get them into the vase. Some of the roots,  being very brittle, inevitably broke.

(and there's my new cat top right of the pic below, looking like a Friesian cow)


transferring bulbs from pots to vases

After some tedious effort rinsing off the roots and easing them into the vases, they look great. I wasn't going to use the Charles I vase this year as it's a bit big but it turned out to be ideal for accommodating the large roots.

bulbs from pots in vases


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