Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Favorite Winter Ritual

One of my favorite winter pleasures is growing hyacinths in forcing vases, which used to be called "hyacinth glasses", centuries ago....
The delicate colors and intense fragrances are extraordinary, and particularly comforting in the depths of winter. Now of course, winter on my sand dune is not really too bad. In Northern Europe, though, after months of slippery ice, snow shoveling, and drear, I learned to love these flowers....
"Hyacinth in Winter", MR, 2014
The one above bloomed white, and had an intensely sweet, tropical scent, but of course I can't resist the pinks! The pinks seem to have a spicier perfume, but maybe that's just my imagination.
"Pink Hyacinth" MR, 2014
After they are done blooming, I plant them outside, and they generally keep growing. Some people throw the bulbs away, but I like to keep them, as they've given me so much happiness and beauty.


  1. Hi Marla,
    In Tehran our Now Ruz (New Year - the vernal equinox) celebrations were never complete without a blooming hyacinth. Many fond memories are associated with this flower and its wonderful fragrance. Here is the PNW hyacinths are one of the few spring bulbs that the deer and moles seem to hate. The flowers come back year after year and multiply as well. This year I even planted two more large bags. I should have saved a bulb to force, but I'll just dig one up for Now Ruz!

  2. What wonderful (and fragrant) memories, Gail! Hyacinths (sombol) have always been one of my favorite flowers. They bring me out of winter and into the new year. Happy Now Ruz (in March that is)!

    1. Sad Saal be in Saal-ha! (In March, that is or I suppose anytime! I am really looking forward to spring this year.) Gail (AKA Azar)

  3. This would be perfect right now with all the snow and the below zero temps, but when reading how to force bulbs, I would have needed to put them in the fridge 5 weeks ago...Anyone have a time machine?
    Maybe I will l luck out and our local independent plant store will have some ready to go.

  4. Hi, Elissa,
    At our garden shop, they had "pre-chilled" bulbs in their fridge, and those they had chilled and were already budding, ready for a vase. So I think there's some variety out there if you have more specialized places than the big box nurseries. Hope you find some! On the other hand, you can force bulbs indoors for a much longer season than growing them outside. You could give them a brief chilling and go for it, see what grows!