I shall complain no more about failing to meet the potting up deadline for hyacinths to flower in time for Christmas. There can be so much excess at Christmas; colours, lights, details, lists, shopping, baking, tidying, Masses, Christmas cards to post and the rooms to decorate. In all of this the simple colours of the bowls of spring bulbs are lost. Better to leave them rooting away in the icy darkness of the outhouses, and bring them into the light and warmth after the Feast of the Epiphany.
The seemingly grey and empty time that appears after the putting away of the tree and its sparkling baubles, is swept away by the beauty and scent of the spring bulbs, Paperwhite Narcissi, "Bridal Crown" all the way from the Holy Land, and as here, Dutch hyacinths. I place bowlfuls on all the window ledges and once the blooms open to the warmth and sunlight, the rooms are filled with their powerful scent. My January and February are filled with sunlight and snow and the scent of spring. Gaudium et spes. And my year stretches ahead with delight.