Snake’s Head Fritillary

Fritillaria ThumbnailCan you believe that this is a British wild flower? It’s so beautiful and unusual with it’s checkerboard markings. Wild meadows supporting this plant have almost vanished here in the UK which is a shame because their early flowers provide nectar for our pollinating insects. Bees love them!

This year I’m introducing more wild flowers to the meadow at the bottom of our garden.  The ground is quite wet there and in past years we’ve had plenty of buttercups and daisies in summer but nothing much in spring.

Fritillaries are part of the the lily family… they are all bulbous perennials. Some have fairly short lives of just a few years but once established these beauties have long lives and reproduces easily.
Like other spring bulbs such as crocus and daffodils the Snake’s Head Fritilliary, Fritillaria meleagris will self sow and build huge colonies if it likes the chosen location. They prefer rich wettish soil in full sun. But not waterlogged.
I’m all in favour of letting plants do their own thing… especially when they are as beautiful as this. I’m not sure how things will work out with mowing. We’ll need to leave the seed heads on until they are ripe which may be as long as June or July. So I have planted them around the fruit trees where we always leave some long grass for crickets and other shy insects.

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