February 22, 2011

Ode to the Hyacinth

I was feeling a touch of the late-winter blahs on my drive to work this morning. When I arrived, this lovely specimen was waiting on my desk.

An unexpected and greatly appreciated gift from my dear friend and gardening mentor, Elaine! Her timing is always impeccable. We have great discussions about plants and gardening tips. This morning, we discussed the fascinating parts of the forced bulb.

The foliage and flower, the parts we usually focus on…

The bulb, which takes on a rich purple hue photographed against a black backdrop…

And the extensive root system, which we don’t see when the Hyacinth is planted in the soil…

What pure joy to observe all parts of the plant while witnessing the slow unfurling of the flower!

Elaine said she has forced bulbs for other friends this year and they are a bit leggy. A little research suggested they may need more light or cooler temperatures. Any other ideas?


  1. I have never been good with forcing bulbs...very lovely and one of my favs for spring

  2. What a lovely gift to find at work. 'Afraid I know nothing about leggy forced bulbs, I've only done it once, although they were not at all leggy and grew deep inside our lounge with only diffuse light. Enjoy watching the flower burst into colour!

  3. Dear Beth, What a delightful gift and how wonderful to just discover it on your desk at the start of a working day. Just the ticket for lifting the spirits.

    I am sure that good light and cooler temperatures are the secrets for perfect indoor bulbs. I imagine that I can smell the delicious perfume of your Hyacinth from here!!

  4. How exciting that must have been! And how wonderful to have a gardening friend. I've never tried to force a bulb. Good luck - I bet it smells fabulous!

  5. I do agree that this is a wonderful gift for a desktop garden. The climate here is too hot for hyacinth but I love the flowers.

  6. @Donna: It's not my specialty either, but they're sure fun to watch.

    @Janet: Thanks, yes it will be interesting to watch this one unfurl!

    @Edith: Thank you for the information. I will take more photos as the flowers bloom.

    @Holley: The Hyacinth doesn't seem to have a scent yet. I'm looking forward to it, though!

    @Autumn Belle: I suppose you could force a bulb inside, too. Aren't Hyacinths lovely?!

  7. You really got good close ups. It should have a fragrance when it opens. I love having them in the house and on your desk is a great place to enjoy.

  8. Thanks, Donna. I'm looking forward to the scent, color, and beauty of the blooming flower!

  9. What a great gift, and so sweet-smelling. I love the fragrance of hyacinths.

  10. Masha: Me, too! Soon it will fill my office with sweet scents!

  11. Beautiful photos! And how thoughtful of your friend to give you this little taste of spring. I have three hyacinth bulbs sitting on vases right now, but they sure are taking their time in growing. I think my outdoor bulbs may bloom first:)

  12. What a nice friend!
    I force hyacinth bulbs every year in glasses similar to yours. I've always had great luck but my Mom does not. I have no idea what the difference is?? I don't usually do anything other than place the bulb in the forcing glass, then into the frig for 12 weeks after which it gets put on my windowsill to open. I've read that fruit in the refrigerator will ruin the bulbs.
    Enjoy your sweet gift!

  13. @Rose: That would be funny if the outdoor bulbs bloomed first. Maybe a good blog post?

    @Kathleen: Fruit in the fridge ruins it? Wow. I would have to have a separate fridge for the bulbs since I always have fruit on hand. I'm taking photos of the Hyacinth every day, so it will be fun to see the progression.