The ‘smarties bed’ in June Blake’s Co Wicklow garden last year, filled with ‘Burgundy’, ‘Ballerina’, ‘Negrita’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Bastagne Parrot’ tulips. Photograph: Richard Johnston

There are moments, such as in the middle of an ice-cold, stone-hard winter, when it feels as if time has slowed to a frozen standstill in the garde(...)