Look at this poor runty little thing. It came in a box with its own glass bulb vase, and was the last remaining hyacinth on the Sale shelf of the garden centre, reduced to £1.99. Its brothers and sisters had long since been snapped up before Christmas, and it looked very unloved among a pitiful assortment of other horticultural rejects. But its fancy box was covered in photographs that promised gigantic, tumescent, pink flowers. I couldn’t resist.
When I got it home, I discovered why no one else had bought it. The bulb had fallen sideways inside its vase, and the desperate green shoot that was already growing had wedged itself under the rim of the vase, meaning that the bulb was completely stuck. I thought I was going to have to break the vase to get it out, or else risk seriously damaging the growing tip. I opted for the latter, and finally got the bulb clear, filled the vase with water, replaced the bulb, and left it in the hall cupboard with slim hope for success, so slim that I frequently forgot about it for days.
On the days I did remember to check it, I was pleased to see that roots were growing from one half of the base. (The other half harboured a delightul culture of mould). And against the odds, the growing tip seemed to be growing. I waited until the latter was a good 5cm clear of the bulb and brought it into the light. I could already see flower buds forming between the diminutive leaves, and presently these pink flowers began to appear.
It clearly needed all the help it could get, and having recently read in someone else’s post that hyacinths don’t do well in glass vases (sorry whoever you were, I can’t find your original post or I’d link to it) I potted it up in this terracotta pot. It’s doing as well as could be expected and smells delicious, although I can’t help being reminded of the Epsilon Minuses in Brave New World when I look at it.
Yesterday evening whilst overspending in Homebase after work, I found these healthy white hyacinths on sale for £2. I placed them next to the wee pink hyacinth by the sitting room window, then changed my mind and separated them, in case the white ones gang up and call the pink one names.
This was my first attempt at growing a hyacinth. Once they’ve done flowering I’ll plant them out in the garden and see how they fare next year. Who knows, the Epsilon Minus might miraculously transform itself into an Alpha Plus.