Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mmmmm Hyacinths

Our potted hyacinths just came into full bloom in a sunny kitchen window. They are fragrant, beautiful, and ephemeral. I bought the bulbs ("Festival Multiflowering Hyacinths") a couple of year's ago from the excellent McClure and Zimmerman's bulbs

What I love about their catalogue is that it's in black and white and has codes for spring blooming, summer blooming, etc., so you have to read it carefully. It makes you slow down, really think about your garden and its problems, and what will work best where. Thanks to M & Z I have about 200 naturalized miniature multiheaded tulips that I can look forward to in a few weeks. Their website is more colorful but the true experience is to be had with the hard copy.

Anyway, I let the hyacinth flowers come and go and nurture the leaves along as long as they last, then just put the whole thing in the basement once the leaves have died off in early summer. In the fall I bring the pot back up, put it in the coldest part of our north-facing curtain window in the kitchen, and when the leaves are a couple of inches tall I move the operation to our sunny south-facing window on top of the toaster oven, where there's a little bit of extra warmth.


At this point I keep things quite moist, which seems to encourage those flowers to pop out. It's sort of like the plants think it's "April showers."

If you don't like the aroma of hyacinths you might not like this plant. But in any case the aroma is not overwhelming.

Just another plug for the McClure and Zimmerman people. I first bought the bulbs three years ago, neglected to read the instructions that they need some weeks of real cold to force blooming, and wrote back that my bulbs never flowered. M & Z sent me a replacement, which I didn't deserve, with the instruction packet folded to the specific part where it specifies cold treatment.

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