Hyacinthus orientalis 'Sneeuwwitje'

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Wed, 07 Nov 2007 18:37:59 PST
Thanks for helping to keep this hyacinth thread going with such good
information, Judy.


I think you're right about most commercial hyacinth bulbs being smaller
these days. But there is no deceit or change of practice involved here. The
really huge ones might still be available, but most retail commercial
outlets now offer bulbs in the 15/16 or 16/17 cm range. The big 19+ cm bulbs
were good for forcing, but they are a poor choice for the garden. They are
simply too top heavy to stand up to wind and rain.   


On the other hand, it might be fun to have really huge bulbs of the grand
double-flowered hyacinths. 


The small size bulbs at the other extreme, the ones once marketed as
Cynthella hyacinths, disappeared commercially long ago.   


Marketing hyacinths must be a challenge: whenever the same thing is offered
in various choices, it seems to me that the choices end up competing with
one another.  


The bulb business is primarily a mail order business for many dealers, and
shipping costs must be a serious consideration for hyacinth growers. Look at
the math which explains the relationship between volume (and by extension
weight)  and circumference: it's little wonder that all the big commercial
bulbs seem to be shrinking. When I was a teenager, bulbs of Fritillaria
imperialis each came in a little box; each bulb was about the size of a
small grapefruit. Nowadays the bulbs are more likely to be the size of a
Meyer lemon - but they do bloom. 



Jim McKenney


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