Not strictly an alpine bulb – it is quite garden worthy – but one of the earliest Alliums to flower and a favourite of Vita Sackville West. Here it was sitting in the Davies Alpine House at Kew. Dare I say it, this was probably the most exciting thing there, large or small; I’m usually wowed by the ever-changing display of intense beauty on show, but not this time.

Very little sparkle, even so, I did like the effect of these fading blooms against the bare grey concrete wall.