Spring bulbs the ideal thing if you missed the autumn boat

Iris reticulata.
Iris reticulata.
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Thank goodness the majority of spring bulbs we find at the garden centre, potted-up and ready to bloom, are offered at an affordable price.

These are ideal if you missed the boat in buying and planting your own last autumn.

Just flowering.

Just flowering.

Last week, I found small pots of dwarf narcissi, three bulbs to each, ready to go at £1.

When three of your favourite cultivars are on offer it is difficult to resist, so Tete-a-Tete, Minnow and Rip van Winkle have joined the garden display and don’t realise they’ve been moved.

Another late-winter favourite, iris reticulata, is in glorious bloom around the garden and it is so good to see the clumps expanding year-on-year. These dwarf winter beauties have always been popular even though the choice was initially restricted to a few variations, eg reticulata (blue-purple flowers with yellow centres), danfordiae (yellow petals and brown spots), Katharine Hodgkin (palest blue with yellow markings). Now there are so many irresistible newcomers available such as Sheila Ann Germany (pale blue and yellow).

In keeping with tulips and snowdrops, it’s the colourful markings that catch the eye.

Narcissi.

Narcissi.

Will dwarf irises be the next expensive bulbs on the market?