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Free plants are especially exciting

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My Fritillaria imperialis ‘William Rex’ bulbs were finally delivered two months later than promised. Two months late!!!!! I was mildly unamused until I ripped open the box. Box ripping is common – plant deliveries are more thrilling than birthdays (when you happen to be thirty five and a half). It took me a few seconds to register that the nursery I had been cursing for their incompetence had sent me a packet of twelve tulip bulbs by way of an apology. Tulipa ‘Ice Age’….it’s white…..did you guess? 

Now this nursery is my new favourite. Easily pleased? Maybe. I don’t even particularly like double flowered tulips, but these are free. They will go in the ground on Saturday and, who knows, next April they could be the best plants in the garden. But do I plant them in amongst my already planted tulip bulbs ‘Cape Town’ (tall, yellow with lipstick red edges) and ‘Apeldoorn’ (really tall with a huuuuge red flower) or do I put them elsewhere? It will probably be a last minute, instinctive decision. 
The Fritillaries were ordered way back in May at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. They caught my eye and I felt myself uncontrollably parting with a fair chunk of my birthday money (I believe I was after clematis and succulents…..oops). I’m hoping they will look a lot like this:

(I spend most evenings with the giant RHS A~Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants on my lap…..doesn’t everyone?) 

These are straight Fritillaria imperialis; F. imperialis ‘William Rex’ has slightly darker, bronze-red flowers. They are showy, brash, a little bit tricky and I am absolutely well and truly looking forward to them more than any other bulb next year……apart from Tulipa ‘Apeldoorn’……and Tulipa ‘Cape Town’……and Tulipa ‘Ice Age’ (well, they were free after all). Oh, and then there are the Watsonia corms that arrived via my father from Madiera……#slightlyobsessed.