Make the effort to prepare hyacinths now and they will make the perfect present to yourself when the cold nights arrive
ject you can get away with items which don’t have drainage holes. So before you chuck away that old kettle or teapot, could it be a quirky planter?
Ditto, old watering cans, biscuit or tea tins, jars, vases, bowls, tin cans, wire containers ( with moss), ovenware, baskets, old tool boxes and any other vessels can all be sized up as possible containers for your bulb display. Car boot sales and charity shops are also great hunting grounds for finding quirky, cheap and unusual vases and pots.
Now to work – wear gloves to protect your hands as hyacinth bulbs can cause skin irritation.
Fill your pot with compost/ bulb fibre, leaving a couple of inches for the bulbs. Place these on top, close but not touching, their noses pointing to the sky.
Now fill in gaps with more compost – you want the tips of the bulbs to be visible at the top, not buried.
Water in so it’s all moist – if you overdo the watering, just gently tip the pot to one side to drain off the excess. Place the pot in a cool ( around 9C), dark place – a shed or garage is ideal – and drape a black polythene sack on top to exclude the light.
Depending on the variety, leave in situ for around six to eight weeks.
Check them periodically and water so they don’t dry out.
When about two inches of yellow growth is showing, bring the pots into the light – somewhere not too bright or hot. Be patient – if you whip them out of the garage too early you’ll get lots of leaves but not many flowers.
Over the next three weeks they will green up and flower, and be ready as gifts or to be brought into the house.
It can be a good idea to stagger the planting – so do some this weekend and another batch in a fortnight’s time so you’ll have plenty of fragrance to look forward to over the festive season.
You can also plant them in special hyacinth vases – little glass vases with a neck for the bulb to rest in.
You just keep the water topped up to below – but not touching – the bulb, and keep in a cool, dark place as above.
Here’s a selection to look out for when you’re shopping: Amethyst and Ostara for beautiful violet flowers, Delft is the classic blue and Kronos a very deep blue, Pink Pearl and White Pearl.
And they all smell fantastic!