For two weeks I have been enjoying the fragrance of a pot of hyacinths. It is so easy to forget how lovely hyacinths smell when at their peak, in a cool room! Admittedly, if they are too warm and when they go over their fragrance slips from delightful to dastardly. But as long as you remember that these are hardy plants and they will not last as long when they are in a hot, stuffy room, and that they need water, they will last a couple of weeks and few things give as much pleasure for a measly €3 than a pot of hyacinths.
And although I like to grow things from scratch, you pay as much for three bulbs in August as you pay for a potful just coming into bloom and you don’t have the worry of whether they will actually bloom in time!
When your hyacinths have finished blooming, put the pot outside to grow on and gradually die down, stripping the flowers off the central stem as soon as they fade. Despite being grown in your home the shock of being outside will not harm them but make sure the bulbs themselves do not freeze solid. I tend to plant them straight in the garden, in their clumps of three. I put them so the bulbs are 10cm deep and although the plants look a bit odd I then don’t have the bother of watering them and then losing the bulbs during summer. Even prepared bulbs will flower the next year if they are given decent treatment but remember that hyacinths do prefer a sunny spot.