** If you want to buy any of the plants mentioned below for your own garden, visit www.countrylife.co.uk/nursery
and type or copy and paste the name into the search. Plants are
delivered in sturdy boxes in a matter of days from one of the finest
nurseries in the country. **

The shocking amaryllis, king of winter pot plants, is really the hippeastrum, dull though it sounds. These big, dry bulbs, dormant for weeks, are planted now. Fill a jam jar with water and place the bulb on top overnight so that the base absorbs water. Then plant the bulb in a pot just bigger than itself of loam-based compost, leaving a third of the bulb standing proud. Place it in a warm room in a north light and watch it go. The prodigious rise of the flower stalk should be accompanied by a perform-
ance of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra.