HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF
Vintage hyacinth vases can be found on eBay. Set search parameters to “worldwide,” as most come from UK sellers. Contemporary vases can sometimes be found in garden centers. Thrift stores have interesting glass vases that work well for tazettas, while chain stores have fairly inexpensive contemporary vases. Tall vases will provide support for often-lanky narcissus.
Photography by Elizabeth Licata
Tazettas are easy. Pile stones in the bottom third of a glass container (at least 12” high; taller is better), place bulbs, and fill with water to just under the bulbs. Leave in a chilly, dimly lit room for a week or so, then move them into a sunny room. Blooms can take three to five weeks.
the flower trade for cut flowers and gift plants. Oddly enough, home gardeners who work wonders in their outdoor gardens are often afraid to experiment inside. But the learning curve is not as high as one may think. A refrigerator now stands in for the cold basements, attics, and root cellars of the past. Place a bag of hyacinths in the fridge in late September, take them out in late December, and set them in a forcing vase over water. Flowers will arrive in February or March, depending on the variety. Old House Gardens provides detailed instructions on forcing, as well as a beautiful selection of heirloom
bulbs—many of which cannot be found anywhere else. Brent and Becky’s and John Scheepers are also reliable bulb providers. Tazettas belong to Division 8 of the Narcissus genus; they include the common paperwhites sold in chains, but there are many other interesting varieties to try. It is possible to find tazettas that lack the sharp paperwhite scent and that feature a softer fragrance instead. Old House Gardens offers the double ‘Erlicheer’ variety, as well as pretty single varieties, while Brent and Becky’s has a gorgeous yellow and orange ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ and several others. LEAF MAGAZINE