As suddenly as someone flicking a switch the children are back at school, the temperatures have noticeably dropped, and the evenings are dark by eight. It’s rumoured that some have even been eyeing the central heating controls, and the time for the annual visit of the chimney sweep approaches. Summer may yet rally for one final, glorious encore, but it is unmistakably waning, and thoughts begin to turn in earnest to next year’s garden. Autumn (am I allowed to use that word yet?) is the time for planting bulbs – beginning with alliums, which benefit from a little residual warmth in the September ground, and finishing with tulips in late autumn, when the colder temperatures will help to keep the dreaded tulip fire at bay. This is good news, as bulbs offer the time strapped garden owner a shortcut to fantastic floral displays, with relatively little investment required in either time or money. Of all the ways to buy plants, bulbs arguably get you the most jolly for your lolly.