If the mature bulbs are cut crosswise at the base to a depth of half an inch before being planted they will form a number of small bulblets at the place where the cut has been made. The mother bulbs are planted out during September but are not allowed to flower in the spring, the spike being removed when observed. Thus, the energy of the plant is devoted to the formation of bulblets. These bulblets are removed in early summer and grown on in beds, continually fed with liquid manure water and within three years will have reached flowering size. In England almost double the time will elapse before the bulbs reach the same size.
When living in Somerset with low-lying land of a warm sandy nature to work with, and which gave every indication of being the most suitable land in England for the development ofbulbs, I enjoyed some success in the formation of bulblets by as described and planting on a bed of peat free , which, mixed with a quantity of superphosphate and used for filling round the bulbs, formed a substantial number of bulblets. The original bulbs were placed in trenches where they remained until the following midsummer when the foliage had died completely down.
Because of this difficulty ofare always the most expensive bulb, and the only one in which Dutch soil and skill really beats Britain. So far we have not mastered the , which is always imported but for other bulbs Dutch superiority is mainly in advertising skill, not in quality.
BUYING THE BULBS
Most varieties make large bulbs up to 20 cm. In diameter, one of which will fill a 60-size pot. Some varieties, while just as vigorous, produce a much smaller bulb, 18 cm. Being the top size for the yellow varieties. For forcing, an r8-cm. Bulb will be suitable – for outside bedding a bulb of 14-16 cm. May be used. A properly ripened bulb should possess a silvery sheen and one perfectly sound should be quite firm when pressed at the base. A bulb should be suspect if any degree of softness is noticed. Many varieties always being in short supply for reasons mentioned, it is wise to place one’s order as early as possible.
Bulbs of Roman hyacinths which will come into bloom before Christmas are smaller, a forcing-size bulb being 14 cms. It is not advisable on the matter of economy to try to force smaller bulbs though where being grown under ordinary room conditions a r6-cm. Bulb will be satisfactory and a 12-13 cm. size for the Roman hyacinths. It all depends upon the temperatures to which they are to be subject.
It is possible to obtain bulbs specially prepared in Holland to flower a fortnight earlier than is usual. This is done by earlier lifting and ripening of the bulbs and then placing in cold storage. They are slightly more expensive but as it is possible to have them in bloom by Christmas, it is worth while. These bulbs are not sent out until required for immediate planting, which should be towards the end of September.