For the best and brightest borders next spring, plant some tulips now.

Try Tulipa Ballerina (orange), Queen of Night (dark purple) and Jan Reus (dark red). The Triumph tulip Jan Reus starts flowering in April and is 50cm high, while Queen of Night and Ballerina flower in May and are 60cm high, so your display has more depth and lasts a bit longer.

Place bulbs in topsoil, mixed with garden compost and grit to improve drainage and plant at a depth of three to four times the size of the bulb, 15cm apart.

If you want ideas for stunning pots of tulips, try Jackpot (purple with white edge), Snowstar (white), Ronaldo (stocky purple-red), Havran (tall dark purple) and Ballade (pink with white edge).

Square containers work as well as round pots for tulip displays. Plant the bulbs in rows, as close as possible without the bulbs touching.

There are many options, but grey-coloured containers are a good choice for pale tulip combinations.

Generally, the larger the better but if fibreglass faux lead is beyond your budget, consider the less expensive fibreclay instead.

If you want to naturalise your tulip bulbs, mix with bluebells and cow parsley.

T. sprengeri is one of the latest tulips to flower, often in late May. A native of Turkey, it thrives under a well-drained bank of deciduous trees. The bulbs are expensive, but you could try them at the edge of a gravel area or between paving stones.