The first Anemone coronaria bulbs come into flower in February. The texture of the just-unfurled petals is as voluptuous as the best bearded iris and then there’s the black centre, a cross between something you’d expect to find at the bottom of the sea and a liquorice all-sort.
You can find them growing in the wild by the hundred in short grass in the Omalos Plain in the White Mountains at the west end of Crete. Fields edged with dry-stone walls contain wonderful patches of these multicoloured anemones. Most of them are brilliant red, but there are pools of crimson, blue, magenta, mauve and white studding the grass on many of the field edges. It’s an increasingly rare sight – a flower-filled paradise.