I love the scent of hyacinths and have made a statement piece here using a long zinc wndowbox (without drainage holes) and packed it with Skyjacket hyacinth bulbs that I picked up at the Rochdale County Council nursery in Middleton, Manchester, at the beginning of December (a bargain 50p each, so I bought a whole tray). The whole house is sweetened by their fragrance.
I have other bulbs coming through (the deeper blue Ostara for example) and have just picked up another late-season bargain – packs of Pink Surprise and Purple Sensation (5 bulbs/£1). I’ll pot these up for an indoor show, in bowls and make-do crockery.
A trio of Ostara hyacinths in a bowl with moss and seed heads from Euonymus europaeus Red Cascade
For planting outside, I was persuaded into buying more bulbs (the sale at Petersham Nurseries- http://www.petershamnurseries.com) for a very late planting of Hyacinths, Tulips and Narcissus.
Tulip bulbs can reasonably, usually, be planted up until Christmas – just check that the bulbs are still firm and plump, with no signs of mould or rot – while Narcissus need a longer time in the ground to perform well. Since the season has been unusually warm and mild (here in the South at least) – and these are going, lasagne-like, into pots, I’m hopeful that this mix will still come up trumps for a long-lasting display. I have to hunt around in the nether regions of the garden now for spare pots and make-do containers. I came home with 4 sets of this Pastel Shades Collection. Oops!
When I called into the Plant Centre at RHS Wisley before Christmas, there was a very wide selection of tulip bulbs for sale at 50% discount – I might get there this week to look again, if I find enough things to plant them in – think Inventive for container choice…