Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hyacinth vases: stop the madness?

I am now the proud owner of 2 blue hyacinth vases (shown above), and one amber one, in addition to the 6 or so I already have (some of them are not that great). An antique place in Nantucket that specializes in British imports had the blue ones and I got the amber one from ebay for not that outrageous a price—it has a couple small nibbles. The last time I bid for a good one, I had stopped at £40, and when I checked back I had been, as usual, overbid. The closing price was £149. That’s $266. It was a nice vase, but still.

The ones I have are a gorgeous blue, but they have relatively smooth bases; I couldn’t find a broken-off pontil. So, I’ll still bid on a few, to get the verifiable pontil mark. It’s discouraging, because obviously my fellow devotees will pay anything.

The irony here is that I’m very hesitant to actually use these to force hyacinths. I’m afraid the temps in the root cellar might break the glass. When I have used cheaper ones for forcing, I’ve found that the bulbs always grow better in dirt. So this is what I will end up doing: growing the bulbs in dirt, then, in December, taking them (carefully) out of the dirt and putting them in the hyacinth vases to finish the process. You can also chill the bulbs separately, but you need an extra refrigerator for that. And they get moldy.

There you have it. I’m buying bulb-forcing containers that are so expensive I’m afraid to use them and even if I do use them I know they may or may not work. It's kind of fun.

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