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Forcing hyacinths

Well I've done it. I've finally planted mine up. They arrived the other day and they simply kept looking at me every time I walked past the kitchen table.

Pointless buying them and hoping they'd flower in time for Christmas if I wasn't going to plant them - so plant them I did.

They need 10 - 12 weeks if they're going to flower for Christmas so I reckon I'm likely to miss them giving me festive flowers - no-ones fault other than my own! Anyway this is what I did:

First thing I did was make sure I had the right sort of bulbs - ones that had been treated and were the right ones for forcing. I bought mine online - the variety was Woodstock. Sarah Raven says they're the colour of beetroot - we'll see! This is the picture from Sarah's website.

Then I made sure I had a suitable pot or bowl to plant them in. They can be grown in water but I wanted to stick with how Granny Ivy used to grow hers all those years ago. Here's the bowl I used, with some crocks in the base to help drainage. Perhaps I should have made a better job of cleaning the bowl but I was impatient!

Then I added the compost. You can see that it's got some grit added to it. That's to help with the drainage - and so that the bulbs won't rot. I filled the bowl such that when I added the bulbs their tops would then just poke through the surface, Sarah talks about having 2/3rds in the compost and 1/3rd poking through - but Granny Ivy used to plant hers a tad deeper. Who's right? Sarah or Granny Ivy. Time will tell.......

Then I added the bulbs. I had 5 and you can see that i placed them equally and so that they weren't touching. I pushed them gently into the compost and made sure that they were firmly in place.

And then I added some more compost and gave them a light drink. You can see that I planted them slightly deeper than Sarah recommended. It'll be interesting to see how they do and whether I'll get them to flower in time for Christmas!

And then I put them in their final resting place - for now. They're in the cupboard under the stairs where they'll stay for a few weeks and until they've put on about 5cm of growth. All I'll do between now and then is keep an eye on them and make sure the compost is moist.

And when they've put that growth on then what I'll do is bring them out into a cool part of the house and let them enjoy some light. The combination of cooler temperatures and some light should mean that the growth will start to green up.

When the leaves are green I'll move them to where I want them to flower - but again I'll keep them away from direct heat or a radiator - Granny Ivy used to put hers on her night storage heaters! I'll also make sure that the compost remains moist.

I'll post more photos as they grow. Will they flower for Christmas? Who knows - I'm in no rush - but it would be nice.........


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