A couple of years back my mother-in-law gave me the best present ever – a gift voucher from a bulb supplier. In this case, Marcus Harvey’s Hillview Rare Plants.
One of the truly great, anticipation-charged moments in the garden year looms. The first of the bulb catalogues has appeared. What’s on offer are brown, flaky, often ugly or even grotesque little packages of life, very nearly guaranteed to alchemically transform into big, fat, glorious flowers of unsurpassable colour. They’re horticultural hand-grenades, or floral fireworks, totally unprepossessing and deceptively inactive, until they explode.