Bulb vases

Very bright and very beautiful, 19th-century bulb vases are blooming lovely

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 With their bright colours and clean lines, these beautiful vases have a cool, contemporary edge. Surprisingly though, they date back to the 1820s, when growing hyacinths from bulbs was something of an English mania. Green vases were most common, with yellow being rarer and cranberry the rarest and most desireable of all. 

The good news is these vases needn’t be used only for hyacinths. As you can see from our picture, they look stunnning in a group, or with other bold blooms.

If you would like to try forcing bulbs next spring, fill a vase with water and place a bulb in the neck, taking care that it doesn’t touch the water, as this will cause it to rot. Place in a cool dark place. When a shoot appears, move to a sunny position and watch it rocket.


Yellow vase, c1820, £135; cranberry, c1870, £165;
green, c1880, £98; amethyst, c1880; £88, small uranium
vase, c1890, £135; ribbed green, c1890, £98, all from Mark West.