Rare bulbs excite garden and greenhouse fans

A trend has emerged in which British and European garden and greenhouse enthusiasts are willing to pay large amounts of cash for plants.

A number of sales on internet auction site eBay have seen single bulbs change hands for more than £100, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reported.

While the rare pure white G. Reginae-olgae "Autumn Snow" went for £162, the record for a single bulb was set in 2008 when a G. Nivalis "Flocon de Neige" sold for £265.

Joe Sharman organises the Galanthus Gala, which takes place each year and regularly attracts around 300 people intent on buying, selling and swapping rare bulbs.

He told the RHS that he is repeatedly surprised by how long the trend for seeking such plants has lasted.

"Its been getting more and more intense – this year I sold out completely within four days, whereas last year it took me three weeks," he said.

Meanwhile, the RHS has revealed that an audit of the UKs ponds has found them to be in a very poor condition.