beginning of September, start of the 2016/2017 forcing season

Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs

1. Hyacinth Vases

It's the beginning of September, the prepared hyacinth bulbs are in the garden centre and it's the start of the forcing season. My first task is to start getting all my recent bulb vase purchases together and label them up with id numbers to match up with the spreadsheet where I keep track of how the bulbs are growing. As soon as I start, Bear has to get in on the act.

hyacinth vases

Those terracotta vases (second shelf) inspired me to look at tobacco jars as possible pots to plant bulbs in, one is on the bottom shelf.

2. Hyacinth Bulbs

I have some vases and other containers, now I need some hyacinth bulbs, preferably "prepared" for indoor forcing. I bought a few at the garden centre the other day as I couldn't resist seeing them for the first time this year.  Although I have ordered some they haven't arrived yet. They are at the supermarket, not prepared but I find they work anyway. The garden centre bulbs are huge (top shelf) which is good as some vases need the largest bulbs; the supermarket bulbs are quite small (second shelf) but that's okay as I have a number of vases that need small bulbs. The top shelf are "official" hyacinth vases. The second shelf are unofficial but work just fine.

hyacinth vases and bulbs

Most of the miscellaneous vases need a small bulb so I am using the supermarket ones except that candy jar which has a wide opening and needs a garden centre bulb.

hyacinth unofficial vases

the clear and silver vases in the middle need small bulbs, the other need/can accommodate the large ones

hyacinth vases with bulbs

the vases need to be filled with water to just below the bulbs

hyacinth vases with bulbs

3. Cool Dark Period

The vases need to be put someplace dark and cool for about 12 weeks so I'm putting this box of vases in the cellar. I'm ok with the dark putting them in the cellar but it's not that cool - certainly not at this time of year. The bulbs will just have to cope and they usually do. Hyacinths are very amenable that way - that's why they're so great for forcing.

hyacinth vases with bulbs

I will also be forcing some crocus and tulip bulbs but awaitng deliveries from the mail order bulb suppliers so after they arrive I will be adding more info here in a week or two.

Buying Bulbs Mail Order

There's something I've been trying to get my head round with buying bulbs mail order. If anyone else knows something about this or has an opinion about it, please get in touch (julie at

If one orders bulbs (even months before they are available eg June) they are charged immediately even though the bulbs may not be delivered for over 3 months, eg September. I don't like that. I can't imagine anyone would. I can't see anything in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (which replaced the Distance Selling Regulations in 2014) which specifies anything about this. I do know some companies, (eg Amazon) will not charge you until an item is shipped but I cannot see that timely shipping is specified in the regulations.

I ordered my bulbs in August because I didn't want to pay for them in June when I wouldn't get them until September. Now I have been told I'm in a queue with customers who ordered before me (in June) who will get their bulbs before me.