According to the Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants the Tulipa is a “genus of about 100 species of bulbous perennials found in usually hot, dry situations” – quite something then, that they thrive in our cool, wet climate. The elegant closed goblet of the tulip is exquisitely beautiful, but when open it reveals one of the most dramatic arrangements of reproductive organs of any flower – what bee could resist? I was going to tell you about the Tulip Mania which swept through the Netherlands in the 17th Century, where fortunes were made and lost in the trading of bulbs infected with the Tulip Breaking Virus, producing stunning, feathery breaks in the petal colour, but I’ve just discovered that Tom Stoppard has made a film called Tulip Fever, so maybe you should just visit the cinema and enjoy your history lesson with some popcorn. P.S. Judi Dench is in it!