It’s Snakeshead fritillary time!

For those of you who have been with me for a long time, know that each year at this time, I do a post purely about Fritillaria meleagris or Snakedhead fritillaries.

Thirty years ago when we moved here, the woodland was full of brambles, docks and nettles. It took me a while to clear it all between the ancient trees before I could start planting.

I found one end of the woodland was always wet or damp and in the spring there was plenty of light and sunshine before the leaves came onto the trees so I thought I would try planting one packet of Fritillaria meleagris bulbs. I know they are really plants for damp meadows, but I would wait and see if they survived.

They certainly did survive, in fact they have liked it so much that they have increased 10 fold, 20 fold, even more! I now sprinkle the seed each year into areas in the woodland that aren’t so damp and they are increasing in those areas too, but the plants aren’t so tall.

For years we had problems with a local pheasant who came and thought what fun it would be to wander through grabbing at the flowers as he passed by, hence the rusty pheasant which my daughter gave me one year, to be the guard of the fritillaries. Don’t know if it has worked but I haven’t seen or heard Mr. Pheasant for a long time now.

I’m now ready to spread the fritillaries into the main garden, but that will be in the autumn and then you and I will have to wait until next April to see if my plan has worked!

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10 Responses to It’s Snakeshead fritillary time!

  1. snowbird says:

    They are just wonderful. Lucky you having so

  2. Denise says:

    Such a beautiful display Pauline and rusty pheasant clearly doing a great job! I hope your extension plan is successful.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Denise, I always look forward to them flowering just as the daffodils in the woodland are going over, it’s one wave after another, after another. Soon it will be quiet in the woodland once the leaves come on the ancient trees, so I’m making the most of it now.

  3. You’re such a wise and patient gardener, Pauline. I look forward to seeing your fritillaries each spring.

    • Pauline says:

      Wow Susie, wise and patient, I’ll agree with the patient, I think gardening teaches us to be patient, but wise, I don’t know about that! It was nice to see in Gardeners World on TV last night, that Monty Don’s fritillaries are growing in the same flooded conditions as mine, they really do love wet soil.

  4. Cathy says:

    I love to see fritillaries and you are blessed with the damp ground at one end of your woodland to help boost them. At what point do you collect and distribute seed? My Mum was telling me recently that my Dad originally planted just one packet of bulbs and they too have spread greatly, but mostly in the slate chipping drive!

    • Pauline says:

      We have various underground streams through the garden Cathy, so some areas are always damp. It took me a long time to work out what would grow in these areas and I was lucky that the fritillaries seem very happy there. You can tell when the seed is ready, the stalk elongates and then the seed pod splits open,as soon as I see the first pod splitting I then collect a handful of seed and start sprinkling. I’m now sprinkling them in drier areas to see how they do there.

  5. Frank says:

    There they are! I’m glad I didn’t miss this post, I always enjoy hearing about them and it’s good to know they’re doing well and looking as excellent as ever.
    I’ve been inspired to do the same here in a springtime damp location and so far so good. This spring there are seedlings blooming and it looks as if they like the spot. My only problem is the magnolia which is now growing in and sharing the same spot. They do fine together, but the spent magnolia petals overwhelm the similar color on the fritillaria blooms! You barely notice they’re in flower but I could have worse problems 😉

    • Pauline says:

      I’m glad you found this post Frank and I’m also very pleased that yours are growing so well and increasing nicely. Shame about the magnolia petals, not sure what you can do about that though!

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