The flower is already within the bulb ready to grow and bloom. All you have to do is to plant it. No microwaving required! Planted in April, they’ll reward you in just a few months with flowers that make you rejoice.

Although they look delicate in flower, bulbs are tough and waterwise. They are well suited to areas with winter and early spring rain and dry summers, as they grow in the cooler months and die back by summer.

Bulbs are easy to grow but it pays to spend a little time deciding how to incorporate them in your garden. They can be slotted in among other plants, planted in clumps, tossed into a meadow or slipped into pots, troughs or other containers.

As well as considering how they’ll look in flower, think about how they’ll look when they’ve finished flowering. The popular spring-flowering bulbs we grow begin flowering in winter and then flower in waves through until spring.

In most cases the long, strappy leaves that accompany bulbs last in gardens until late spring or even very early summer. And they can look a mess.

Jonquils and narcissus, for example, bloom any time from May on, with paperwhite narcissus appearing in mid-winter and the cheery yellow daffodils and fragrant freesias in August and early September.

The bulb leaves, which keep growing after the flowers finish, are manufacturing food to feed next year’s growth.

To make a big splash with your bulbs, try them in pots. Select one variety of tulip or hyacinth and a sympathetic container. Plant six to eight bulbs in each pot.

Display as a feature while flowering, then remove the container when the flowers finish to allow the leaves to grow unhindered by your desire to tidy and prune.

Untidy foliage

Removing the leaves, however untidy they are, can reduce future flowering.

If you want to grow massed bulbs but can’t abide their untidy leaves, there are several options. They can be grown in containers and removed to an out-of-the-way spot when the flowers have finished. Alternatively, let other plants in your garden do the work of hiding the leaves of bulbs once the blooms are over.

Waterwise summer perennials such as dianthus, yarrow, euphorbia and candytuft, or annuals including marigolds and Californian poppy, do a great job at this, growing rapidly in spring and filling the gaps left by bulbs.

If you are growing bulbs for a meadow-like look, let grasses grow up around them for as long as you can before mowing the area in early summer.