trying to organise more bulbs

I've been trying to organise more bulb forcing - but I'm doing it in the garden so this is one of those times when the garden outdoors meets the garden indoors. Some of the pots I am leaving outside as the bulbs (eg narcissus and muscari) did better there than inside last year.

I always use fresh bulbs for forcing. They need that extra energy. I try to plant the spent bulbs in the garden but it can be difficult if the ground is frozen and I don't have room, especially with the long roots on the bulb which requires a lot of digging to make room for them.  These are some bulbs that were left in the syrup tins which I used as pots last year. Even though they are dried out some life is left in them - green shoots and green on the bulb. I am going to attempt to bring them back to life. It does show how bulbs want to grow, especially hyacinths.

there are green shoots on the hyacinth and muscari bulblets

the muscari bulbs have a lot of bulblets

muscari bulbs

I have planted all the bulblets in fresh compost

muscari bulblets

after a disappointing season last year I decided not to do the large Dutch crocus but I had some of the larger species crocus which will probably work in these vases so I'll give them a try. I find the crocus need the water in the vase right up to the bulb to spur it into action. They aren't as cooperative as hyacinths!

starting all the hyacinth bulbs

the bulb bowls are not very forgiving of bulb defects - the bulbs are all on display whereas imperfections are not so visible if the bulb is in the cup of a hyacinth vase

bulb bowls with hyacinth bulbs

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs

only this bulb bowl is large enough to hold 5 bulbs, the others are too small and the bulbs are too big

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs

I received the remaining bulb orders a couple days ago so was able to spend yesterday (after it stopped raining) putting them in vases, filling the vases with water (to just below the bulb) and putting them in the cellar.  

hyacinth vases and bulbs

one of my special animal friends came in the back door to see what I was doing

after choosing which hyacinth variety to go in each vase:

hyacinth vases and bulbs

the new bulbs are looking, at least superficially, better than the ones I received last week, Sky Jacket:

sky jacket hyacinth bulbs

prepared Delft Blue

Delft Blue hyacinth bulbs

comparison of 2 different supplier's Delft Blue hyacinth bulbs

Delft Blue hyacinth bulbs

Splendid Cornelia hyacinth bulbs (unprepared) which I am going to use exactly as I use the prepared bulbs, ie into the cellar for 12-15 weeks, I've done that before and had reasonable results

Splendid Cornelia hyacinth bulbs

Miss Saigon hyacinth bulbs:

Miss Saigon hyacinth bulbs

hyacinth bulbs

Anne Marie hyacinth bulbs:

Anne Marie hyacinth bulbs

start of the forcing season 2015/2016


I received one delivery of prepared hyacinth bulbs this week so still awaiting 3 more. It's difficult to sort out all the vases and which bulbs are going in each if I don't have all the bulbs but I thought I should start the ones I have. Fitzroy (neighbour's cat) keeping me company.

hyacinth bulbs and vases

Some of the Delft Blue bulbs are not looking very good but I'm going to see how they do and see how other supplier bulbs are in case it's common among all this year's bulbs and see if the mould and splitting affects the flowers. One of the Fairy White bulbs was completely rotten, soft and oozing. Surprisingly I've never had such a bulb but as last year I just chose my own from the garden centre bins I could leave one of those behind.

mouldy hyacinth bulbs

I couldn't leave the vases on the table outside for long as the foxes regularly jump up there.

starting hyacinth bulbs in vases


first week of September

I have noted the prepared hyacinths I have on order; still awaiting deliveries. 

Of course, I cannot resist the odd impulse purchase. I have tried a few bulb items from Sainsbury's in the past so wanted to see what this year's bulbs were like. They don't even tell you the variety on the packs so these are certainly for the casual gardener. Still unsure if these are going in garden indoors or outdoors. Last year the daffodils did better and earlier outside than inside, same with the crocus. I'll certainly put them in pots even if they are outdoors. The hyacinths I will probably use in pots/containers some indoors and some outdoors.

indoor bulbs blooming outside, end of 2014/2015 forcing season

these tete-a-tete daffodils were inside but no sign of buds, after a few weeks outdoors they are blooming - well after the daffs that were outside from day 1 finished and here's a hyacinth on a plant that was blooming indoors weeks ago, now having an unexpected second flush of flowers

these crocus were some of my indoor bulbs now blooming outside, I thought they were finished and I discovered they were still blooming

Sevres bulb pot at the Art of the Garden exhibit

I went to the Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden exhibit at the Queens Gallery earlier this week where I saw this Sevres bulb pot. I'm always interested to see how bulbs are grown indoors.

Sevres bulb pot

when the garden indoors meets the garden outdoors

at this time of year there's some overlap with bulbs indoors and bulbs outdoors

this little pot I had planted with crocus was inside, I put it outside when all the crocus appeared to be spent but at the end of March I see this crocus is blooming in the pot outside

early spring crocus

this pot of muscari was outside but I've brought it inside for a bit of colour after all the other bulbs indoors are finished


these tulips have been outside but when I brought them inside recently they burst into bloom, certainly better than the tulips I had in the truffle bottles inside (after a period in the cellar) that never bloomed properly, these are Van Tubergen's miniature tulips from Sainsburys - seem as good as the bulbs from the garden centre

the non-blooming tulip bulbs in the truffle bottles, below

The golden syrup tin on the right and the squirrel planter to the right of that have tete-a-tete daffodils and have been indoors since I planted them up last autumn, none of which are showing any buds whereas the pots to the left and in bloom and looking fabulous have been outside since being planted up with tete-a-tete daffodils last autumn.

Muscari in bloom having been outside since last autumn.

the muscari in the cat pot were supposed to be forced indoors but after period in the cellar I had to put it outside with such extensive leaf growth

still waiting for any buds on the muscari in the M+S jug

recent blooms

now that the irises shown below have finished the muscari is now the focus of this rack of pots, outside the muscari are blooming as well (pic to follow), there's no forcing these, muscari will bloom when they are good and ready! regardless of M+S and other shops selling them as forcing bulbs


a close-up of some of the irises on the windowsill

a whole view of the plants shown in the close-up above

crocus blooms after they've been inside on the windowsill a couple days

a period outside has helped these bulbs, the hyacinth has a second bloom and the crocus has a couple more buds ready to open

some time outside and then being brought inside has forced these irises to bloom, as well as the crocus

yellow crocus just brought inside

I was just tidying up the patio and saw these yellow crocus buds on this crocus so I brought the rack of pots inside and a little while later it has burst into bloom, I assume because of the warmth indoors.

another crocus in bloom

and a couple days later:

purple large Dutch crocus indoors

I just can't stop taking pics of this crocus, it's just a perfect example of an idoor bloom, if only all my bulbs could turn out so beautiful

purple large Dutch crocus indoors

purple large Dutch crocus

purple large Dutch crocus

forcing (or not) muscari, also known as grape hyacinths

In my experience muscari will not bloom until they are good and ready and not a day before. There's no forcing them. The jug of muscari (below) was from M+S and has luxuriant leaf growth but no sign of any buds. The little silver pot next to it I planted up myself, also no buds. And in the following pic are some pots with muscari with the same leaf growth but no buds. Some I attempted to force but moved them from the cellar to outdoors when the leaves were so large.



this is a close-up (below) of the white pot (above): long-leaved muscari and hyacinths in the middle


It's also time to consider the results of forcing iris. Aside from a couple of flowers most of the bulbs are now shriveled. Iris were in the front row below: a Golden Syrup tin, kitsch vase with the stylised peacocks, Shorter bluebird trough and a couple of the terracotta pots.

forced iris reticulata


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