One of the last tulips to flowers with us, T. sprengeri, a dazzling scarlet petalled beauty, is but the tip of the iceberg of these bulbous perennials. There are around 100 species from the Mediterranean into central Asia, often in dry, open rocky places. Rarely woodlands, however one species, T. sylvestris, now naturalised in some woodlands of southern England. This is an exception. Most will flower through much of spring, normally with goblet-like flowers opening with the sun. There is great variability in colour, shape and markings, so much so that it induced 'tulip-mania', starting in 17th century Holland. Around 5000 varieties have possibly existed. Tulipa saxatilis from Crete is a great species for a hot garden position, with a bright lilac and egg-yolk colour combination and usually it can spread by stolons. Other good easy species tulips to start could be T. turkestanica and T. linifolia. For something more unusual, try the spidery-looking T. acuminata.