For the past few weeks, bulb catalogues have been landing on the doormat. Thoughts of next spring piling up, whilst we endure a sticky heatwave. I flick through the catalogues and my palms get itchy as I mentally heap variety upon variety of tulip, daffodil and crocus into a big box to be sent to me.
I’d like to take five minutes to remind myself of muttered truths last year as I opened the box of delights. Or, to be more truthful, boxes of delights.
Firstly, a small reminder that I’ve tried to grow the gorgeous, flouncing tulip ‘Rococo’ three times now. I want it. It’s red and green and yellow and reminds me of something precious in my childhood which I can’t quite remember, but whose colours swirled in my mind. I so want to grow it. Yet it spurns me, sending up feeble, twisted leaves that wither and die before a bud can open. before my memory can be nudged towards recognising the precious thing it so reminds me of.
Secondly, just stick to a simple colour scheme. My plans of different colour schemes in different pots in different parts of the garden failed this year. I had images of ‘Cairo’, ‘Bruine Wimpel’ and ‘Abu Hassan’ making sophisticated statements on the patio. ‘Angelique’ and ‘Spring Green’ were to mix with ‘Groenland’ to give a pretty pink welcome by the front door. But a toddler keen to ‘help’ ensured that pinks mixed with bronzes to achieve… Well, I’m not entirely sure exactly what it did achieve. So, this year, just a range of colours that all blend easily, so that even my enthusiastic helper can cultivate a charismatic, coordinated container.
One final stern word to myself. Make your order – fling virtual bulbs with wild abandon into the electronic shopping basket. Then stop. Take a cyber pen, and cross out not one quarter, not one half, but three quarters of the order. You’ll still have plenty, but instead of being boxes of regret and despair as you wonder how you’ll ever shoe-horn all those expensive bulbs into an over-full garden, you’ll be able to enjoy uncovering the jewels within your small, but joyous, box of delights.
Nah, you’re right – it’ll never work…