They are big, brash, uncompromising flowers, but I love them. Hailing from South America, Hippeastrums are often confused with their South African cousins the Amaryllis. Quite how these stunning bulbs found their way to the remote valley in Bhutan where I took this photograph I don’t know. They seemed very much at home, forming clumps around the base of a rock in dappled shade. Back at home, in low terracotta bowls, our large bulbs are already sending up two or three stems each. Every one will carry four or five large velvety-red flowers, contrasting sharply with the bare branches outside the window.