Feb. 27: A Grape Hyacinth Cocktail:
This is the favorite of all my hydroponic muscari bulb arrangements.
Grown from bulbs in a decorative cocktail glass filled with clear flat marbles and water, it made a very pretty gift, especially since these decided to bloom in these days when the ground is still covered with a thick blanket of snow.
While I don't really like the idea planting bulbs in pots of dirt to force them to bloom indoors, I like the ease of the water-only forcing technique.
As with my muscari arrangement in the larger blue bowl, their growth was attractive even before flowers formed. It took a bit longer for these bulbs to present flowers, probably because they were in a chilly area near a sliding glass door.
For me, part of the appeal for this arrangement is the way the roots formed a thick web through the marbles in the bowl of the glass. Some roots have even grown down into the base.
In the case of this arrangement and the larger blue bowl arrangement, the excitement of seeing the first blossom was multiplied when I checked a day or two later and there were five or six more.
HOW TO 'PLANT' THEM
Fill the bowl of a large decorative cocktail glass (or any clear glass vessel) with clear glass marbles and add enough water to come to the top of the marbles. With pointed side up, place as many grape hyacinth (muscari) bulbs on top as will fit. You can basically forget about them until they need more water. In about two weeks, the first green shoots should show, my flowers appeared after about three months.
The 'planting' technique, which also works with large amaryllis bulbs, can be found in detail here. All the journal entries covering the previous weeks of growing can be found in the Gardening section of the site.
Thanks to Longfield Gardens in Lakewood, NJ for providing the bulbs that made my testing possible. I'm especially grateful to co-owner Hans Langeveld who patiently answered all my questions on how to grow bulbs in water without one speck of dirt. The company did not pay me for these posts.
This will likely be my last entry about forcing bulbs until the end of March when it's time to bring up the tulip bulbs that are now chilling in my basement.