"Encouraging" Bulbs Victorian Style

So, I got more bulbs this weekend. What's that? You mean some people actually keep food in the refridgerator? No way! Why would they do that when they can fill it with bulbs? And flowers are food--they're food for my soul.

I didn't really intend to get more, but on Sunday I went to Earl May "just to look" at something or other when I saw that they had hyacinth glasses. Hyacinth glasses are hourglass shaped vases used for forcing bulbs in water. The shape of the glass keeps the bulb just touching the water. While you can do this with any type of small-mouthed jar, specially made glasses are worth looking for because of their elegant shape. I got a clear one, but they also come in several different colors.

I bought 5 "Woodstock" hyacinth bulbs, but only one glass. So I put 1 bulb in the glass, 2 in regular jars. The idea is, you put the bulbs and water in the glass or jar (with the water just barely touching the bottom of the bulb) and chill for about thirteen weeks or until good roots have formed. Then you pull the glass and bulb out of the fridge and--presto, chango--beautiful flowers in a beautiful vase. Mine should be ready around the end of January.

I'm going to use the other 2 bulbs for an experiment. I know they say bulbs need to be chilled--and I think I believe them, whoever "they" are--but I'm curious what will happen if I just try to grow some as if they were pre-chilled, as if they were paperwhites. Do they just not grow? Do they grow funny? In order to find out, I put two of the bulbs in jars with water, just like the other ones, but I'm going to not chill these. Could be a waste of two bulbs, could be a way to move food back into the refridgerator--time will tell.

I also got five little Muscari corns ("Grape Hyacinth Plumose" or "Lavendar Muscari") but, although they do have to go into cold storage, they don't need to be potted up until they're done chilling (just eight weeks--I'll pull them out right after Christmas). After planting they need to go to a fairly cool, dark place until they sprout, which should take just a few days.

Again, happy thoughts are appreciated....

(Note: Throughout all of my bulb experimentation, I've been relying heavily on Better Homes and Gardens Bulbs For All Seasons. This book has amazing pictures and really great directions, which are kind of rare to find in one place. If anyone's looking for present ideas (Birthday, Graduation, Christmas--I'm about to hit the motherload all in one month) I've added it to my Amazon list--click on the "Outdoorsy Sorts of Books" link to the lower right).