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Off down the garden centre on a hot tip this weekend to find spring bulbs slashed to just 50p a packet!

I bought the lot, or at least one packet of every variety – that was 11 packets of bulbs for £5.50. For the first time in my life I think I understand the feral look in the eyes of those ladies you see elbowing each other out of the way in the January sales.

Got home and had a happy hour divvying them up into likely combinations according to predicted size and blooming times to go into containers on my patio.

I’m in good company planting them this late in the season, and in fact it seems I’m a bit slow on the uptake – it seems everyone else is well clued up on this bit of late-winter bargain hunting. The general consensus seems to be that since they’re a month or two late in the planting they’ll also be a month or two late flowering – but they will flower eventually. So I made a note of the dates they were meant to flower too so I can do a little experiment and find out just how late it makes them to plant at this time of year.

Now I have the following to look forward to, whenever they decide to show up:

Chionodoxa luciliae followed by Oxalis adenophylla

Puschkinia scilloides libanotica and Narcissus lobularis

Chionodoxa again, mixed colours this time, followed by Anemone blanda

Crocus chrysanthus var. fuscotinctus followed by Scilla siberica with a final flourish from mixed Ixia

Anemone coronaria ‘St Brigid’ possibly but not probably overlapping with Tulipa ‘Rococo’

The relative timings are, of course, a lottery, and who knows what will come up when. But that’s half the fun of it. Come to think of it, a lot more fun than doing it when you’re supposed to.