One of the nation’s favourite early Spring plants, they have a reputation as being tricky. Given the right conditions, they are very straightforward and problem free, providing fabulous displays of flowering when almost every other plant is still asleep for Winter. The key is they need acidic soils – like Rhododendrons. This means they can easily be grown in pots in Ericaceous composts, and provided they are fed with specialist ericaceous feed, will provide many years of colour and interest. They are evergreen, and their neat, shiny tough leaves will providee a backdrop all year. Flower buds start swelling late the previous Summer, and keep getting bigger all Autumn and Winter, until they burst open in early Spring. The flowers can be caught by frosts when they are opening, but the buds are generally fine, and the plant is 100% hardy and tough. ‘Ace of Hearts’ is a gorgeous very large double flowered red selection, each flower up to 15cm (6′) across once open, with mulitple layers like a paeony flower.