January 23, 2012 in flowers
A few years ago I bought a basic glass hyacinth bulb holder which I use every year, placing it on my mantlepiece. Since then I have collected a couple more and always love the way the roots grow in the water and the interesting patterns they form before the plant has flowered. The bulb simply sits in the neck of the water-filled vase, acting as a stopper so the water rarely needs topping up.
This year I bought a bag of bulbs at my local B&Q garden centre which contained many more bulbs than I had traditional vases for. I began thinking, what could I use as alternative vessels to sit the bulbs in? I love seeing the roots growing and it is important that the bulb rests on the water and not in it, so I scoured my cupboards and placed bulbs in the necks of milk bottles, on tea light candle holders, old jam jars and vintage glass and waited to see what would happen. I included one of my bulb root experiments in a shot for Heart Home magazine where I placed a bulb in the neck of a piece of chemistry equipment I had bought at my local car boot fair – a tall glass measuring cylinder where the numbers had long since rubbed off.
In these photos some of the bulbs had grown roots for a few weeks and others were freshly placed bulbs with no root growth at that time. I like clustering the vases together in a group for extra visual impact.
Most of the hyacinths bloomed, although I don’t really mind if they don’t as the visual patterns the roots create make me happy. My plants are usually a little stunted and not tall like the ones I would buy at the florists but I still think they are beautiful. I’m sure there is a way of making them grow taller but I haven’t discovered the technique yet.
After the first batch have flowered you can begin again, placing a new bulb in fresh water and plant the others in the garden for the following year. I have just started on my second batch and next year I might experiment with different flower types too and see what happens.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, art/creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 20 years, and is well known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for architects and property developers. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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