Hyacinths are familiar to us as potted bulbs that flower around Christmas. The bulbs are specially prepared for early flowering by heat treatment, although naturally they flower in March.

These early-forced flowers are much appreciated for their pristine quality, colour and sweet scent. Forcing is also the route by which many hyacinth bulbs end up in the garden. When they have finished flowering indoors, those hyacinths that are not dumped right away, or allowed to wither miserably, can be planted out in the garden and given the chance to grow and flower again.