I have never been to Avon Bulbs in person. Once a year in autumn, a parcel arrives with contents looking like an upmarket take-away. Whispery paper bags with a twist and drizzle of shredded paper. Inside, the new bulbs, salivated over previously on their stand at Chelsea. Or in the Avon Bulbs catalogue.
The owner, Chris Ireland-Jones has a fine eye for stunning plants and (a recent outbreak this) an addiction to musical puns. His stand at Chelsea in the big marquee is always worth making a bee-line for.
As a designer, I don't shop here for bulk carpet bomb plantings but for the new, exotic or enticing to trial at home. This years's list includes a brick red imperial fritillary, the huge blue hat of Scilla peruviana
and a blue tassle of a bulb, Triteleia laxa corina