Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Hyacinth Update in the Month of Love...

Bergamot & Ivy, my design business, just finished up with Valentine's day, a blitzkrieg of a holiday! Everyone always thinks you make a fortune during Valentine's day(s),depending on when the date falls, such as this year-on a Monday, it becomes several days of business for us. The problem is, because it's such a giant holiday for growers, wholesalers and florists/designers, the premium flowers are sold for super premium prices on down the line-from growers to retailers.You pay for quality, plain and simple.                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are not a "rose" shop, that means that we don't buy cases of cheap, South American roses, sprayed within an inch of their lives. We all know the "dozen ROSES- 12.99" specials that pop up during mother's day and especially for Valentine's day. These are frightening concoctions of weak, scentless, usually red roses (bred for shipping, not beauty), tacky baby's breath,  leather leaf fern and an acetate ribbon. What we sell to our customers is the antithesis of that, every order is custom, whatever each cherished client wants, we do our best to deliver. Lilac, sweet peas, hybrid lilies,delephinium, hellebores, hyacinth...we create living works of beauty, to woo your love.                                                                                                                       Everyone wants something different, and special, and that makes for a great deal of work and planning. special containers and vases, just the best selection of Orchids, ribbon to order, FLOWERS to order-from all over the world. Do we make a fortune? the answer is NO, we do not.We pay such high prices, to get the best, that we actually make a lower mark-up, then we would when the demand is back to normal...just to be able to carry the product and make our regular clients happy.                                                                  Most of the year, an event or nice wedding , makes a much better profit because you are working with a set plan, and can order accordingly-like a recipe-no waste. Finally, you have to get many, many orders delivered all over an entire metroplex, as early as possible and in flawless condition...be kind to your florist, they have worked so hard for you!

Now, I had to touch base on valentine's day, but my intention was to give some hyacinth up dates, and share some bumps along the road! Everything was going great, roots were starting to develop, and I forgot about them for a week or so. When I checked up on their progress, I found to my horror, that the spare refridgerator had malfunctioned, and some of my glass forcing vases had ICE forming inside!! DRATS! I lost three good forcing vases to ice expansion, and two hyacinth bulbs as well. Forcing bulbs, should never freeze. Cold, yes-but not frozen, they turn to a rotted mush. Two of the vases were contemporary English vases, too bad, but no big loss, the third was one of my oldest, and although plain, a flint glass beauty in my eyes. I thought it was fine, then picked it up, and the bottom dropped off, a clean break. There just isn't any point in crying over spilled milk, as they say-move on. All the rest of the forcing bulbs and vases survived, thank goodness! I've started to bring out a selection, based on how much growth is beginning to commence.
this is a good example of proper root development and top growth to begin "forcing"

It was fun to pull out the more active hyacinth vases, seeing all the roots and bright green shoots just beginning to elongate. I grew my more rare bulbs in terra cotta pots of soil, those seemed even more robust to me, maybe the soil has acted as an insulator, protecting the hyacinth bulbs from the near freezing temperatures in my faulty fridge. Plump white roots are growing out of the drain holes, and all looks great! I'm bringing a tiered iron and frosted glass plant stand inside, to display all the bulbs and vases to their best advantage.

getting ready for a display....moss comes next.

I'll bring this first group inside, keeping them well watered and cool-warm temperature can be disatrous at this point, the flower stalk needs time to elongate before flowering. Sometimes, if the temperature is too hot, the flowers will almost bloom down deep, inside the bulb, ruining the display. I always add fresh, live sheet moss to my bulb pots, it looks natural and keeps the soil moist and cool.

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