Hyacinth Splendid Cornelia
Not quite as splendid as their namesake might suggest
Photo: Chronica Domus
Well, it has been just shy of a month since I discovered my long-overdue-for-forcing hyacinth bulbs which, if you recall, had escaped my notice tucked away within brown paper bags in my basement for the better part of winter. Quickly hatching a plan to force them in water, contained in antique copper food molds, I thought I might have saved the day. With as much cosseting and coddling as a mother can provide her offspring, I was hopeful for a good show.
Alas, this year's selection of hyacinth bulbs did not quite live up to their namesake, Splendid Cornelia. It is, I believe, all my fault as I have obviously denied them adequate growing conditions to thrive. After all, as with past efforts, seen here and here, I've always started the forcing of my hyacinths closer to the calendar New Year than the Lunar New Year.
I'll admit, the photograph I've included in this post does look somewhat pretty at first glance, and I am grateful that at least a few of the bulbs have bloomed for my enjoyment, releasing their heavenly fragrance to sweeten the air in the kitchen. Clearly, they have not thrived and have obviously had a falling out and some cross words with each other, much like a couple of petulant children. Why else would they not be blooming in unison? In fact, I'm not quite certain what to make of it all. Firstly, the most successful of the bulbs was actually growing very well on its own in the smaller of the two food molds. As soon as I came to realize that one of the bulbs in the larger mold was not to be coaxed into action, looking a little desiccated as it was, I ditched that under-achiever into the compost receptacle and replaced it with the one from the small mold. The little mold soon got a replacement bulb; a yellow variety named City of Haarlem. Now, I wait with eager anticipation as to its fate.
As can be seen, I've had varied success with three of the four bulbs in the larger mold. Although the middle bulb towards the back does contain a flower, it has not advanced past the sword-shaped leaves. The one in the front has seemingly birthed a young 'un, which has thrust forth its own little leaflet, probably robbing the main bulb of the vital energy required to actually do its job and produce a beautiful bloom. Oh dear, what a mixed bag this has turned out to be!
There is nothing quite like a humble little garden bulb to remind one that Mother Nature makes the rules around here. No matter how much we wish to fiddle with her, in this case forcing in water, she always has the last word.
Ah well, there is always next year's foray into bulb forcing to look forward to. Now, please excuse me while I pencil in a few useful notes on my calendar - 1. Buy bulbs in the autumn, 2. Force in early January.