The pier with setting sun / Die Mole mit untergehender Sonne
As for your Hyacinths.... I found that the fancy ones are a bit more picky. If you didn't get good bloom out of them, dig 'em up in the fall, make the holes 2x bigger and add a mixture of potting grade soil mixed with bone meal into the hole and replant the bulbs. Treat the fancies with bone meal every Spring -- as soon as they pop up. You will get much better results from 'em =) I also noticed that leaving them covered in autumn leaves and/or mulch until threat of frost is completely gone yields better blooming from them. I never removed the previous year's leaves from around them until there was no more chance of frost. True, it wasn't ideal for the eye at first, but when my rainbow of hybrid Hyacinths bloomed like mad, it was all worth it ;) Hope you don't mind the unsolicited advise!
Just I do not keep most of my fancier spring bulbs in the ground, appart from a few easy going ones you can later in the year just thread on like snowbells, wild form crocus, and the old pot mix with grape hyacints and striped kaufmania bulps I used to stuff random holes from digging up dandelion roots. Those all look nice and do well whilst needing nothing but the regular lawn care and no stepping on or mowing before they pack it up for the season.
I store the spring flowering bulbs for the pots over summer in the basement in marked brown bags on a tray, as the two huge vessels on the drainage lids need replanting with summery stuff after the bloom. My Friedrichshafen yard is really tiny and from the soil there is also not much there into the deep as it sits right on the basement parking of the condo complex. The round pots need to be pretty and in bloom all season, especially the one by the little gate in the privacy hedge, as this is the only thing but the hedge itself most strangers can see of our gardening. Bulbs are arranged again when the summer flowers give up the blooming and then they get covered up with needletree twigs fixed into place. When doing that late autumn change I usually get the new potting soil into the upper half of the pots. The lower third is all mere gravel for propper drainage I try not to mix under. I will have to see if the garden market sells extra horn meal, but I wonder if the summer flowers like a soil mixed with this too. The shop girls from the garden market never told me to mix anything to special soil for flower pots but of course advise the priciest brandname balcony box bagged soil. My husband however (always present of course at such discussions for buying heavy things for the garden is the manly thing to do ;o)) takes then a bit of the cheapest one as soon she is gone, or none at all and insists to fetch only the fully composted dirt from the compost heaps back at his childhood home. The homemade compost is rather nice with the veggie beds and costs us noting, but I am not sure if it is that great for the potted flowers. As for the needle tree twig coverings, they are from our timber patch usually, but last years his sister had something nicer from a neighbor cutting down a few of their conifers and said I shall take from her stash of two very different greens to cover the pots, I think it was someting like a thuja and the other a yew. Perhaps I poisoned the pots with the unusual and strong smelling covers? Or it all became to dry with that almost snowless winter?
I was so thrilled to have bought some big hyacinths. They do smell so nice but usually do not fit in. When I spotted some in a warm orangey colour to match my pot tulips ( Tulipa batalinii 'Bronze Charm' I think they are, although I bought them as Greigs "Fuer Elise", but the green leafs are all wrong for it) I wanted to buy those great hyacints blooming at the same time and picking up the colour of their reder wash but they came out not very nice. To be honest, also the tulip bulbs in their second year did not as well this spring either, the whole easter display is poor and disapointing like never before. The sparse and indecisive pinkish-brown things reminding of a toilet brush in the middle do not help at all, as half of the golden tulips seem not to have come back to life either and most others sport no blossom. :o(
I have a lot of potted plants which are not hardy in my zone --- Geraniums which are over 20 yrs. old & a double flowered tropical Hibiscus & Oleanders for instance.... I also grow veggies in pots --- tomatoes, peppers, parsley (nothing too exotic). I even grow some hardy plants in pots because I can move them around, etc. -- an apple tree, Altheas, Sedums, etc. So I've gotten the mixing of soil for containers down to a virtual science ;) I don't add new soil unless necessary... I amend the soil that's already there to enrich it at the beginning of each growing season. Some of my potted plants get pulled up every Spring to have their soil worked over -- Geraniums really seem to appreciate that treatment after spending all winter in a dark garage or cold area. I then replant them in their pots and they bloom like crazy all season long.
So, don't let them talk you into fancy potting soils and stuff. Pick up one you know to be low in garden debris and add components separately to make the soil work for your needs.
Your bulbs sound like their missing nutrients needed to bloom. And it's tough to control that if you dig them up every year -- they also will not multiply as well that way. My mom has bulbs plants alongside some of her outdoor potted plants --- daffodils, tulips, gladiolas.... They do very well & come up strong every year. A lot less work with them, too, and a lot easier to make sure they are protected from annoying squirrels & other pests. Plus they get fed better because potted plants need more fertilizing that in ground plants. So maybe try doing your bulb gardening in a big pot that stays out year 'round ;) And when the greenery passes, plant some easy annuals to fill in the space for the rest of the growing season -- Geraniums and Impatiens are good for that because they don't have big root systems & aren't demanding.
Anyway.... Hope that helps =)
Miracle Gro and Osmocote? Interesting they are so different in your experiance as they are not really competing products. As far as I know both belong to the Scotts/Celaflor group. Generally I am scared by everything that superbrand stands for, so I would rather not buy Osmocote just for having a healthier looking flowerpot by the gate, rather go back to easier flowers standing a soil not chemically pimped.
I have a suspicion the newest cultivars in unusual colours just never grow that well as does the classic stuff people had already in old time farmer gardens and those nice orange hyacints and subtle brownish-yellow dwarf tulips that are no long known classics have been just a very foolish idea I should abandon very fast. All they do is perfectly matching a post-modern wall colour scheme not my own choice anyway....