On Guard!

Rusty Pheasant has been put in place and is guarding the first of the Fritillaries to open. I hope I’m not speaking too soon, but I haven’t heard Mr. P calling from the fields next door for quite some time now.

The flowers in front are a cross between cowslips and primroses.

And this is what he’s guarding, Fritillaria meleagris.

I love the patten on the petals, Mr. P prefers the taste of them!

I can see that quite a few of the bulbs have 2 heads per stem. I think they must be happy.

Seeds that I sprinkled on the opposite side of the path are now of flowering size.

This is the pheasants favourite food, the buds of snakeshead fritillaries, this is when they are at their most vulnerable.

Soon there will be so many flowering as long as Mr P stays away!

This is just the start of what I look forward to, after the snowdrops have died down, so, “Go to it” rusty pheasant, stand guard over my fritillaries and keep them safe.

Do you have to stand guard over any of your plants?

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26 Responses to On Guard!

  1. Frank says:

    Looks promising! No pheasants here but there at plenty of rabbits, and if you can think of a guard against them, I and the crocus would be very grateful 🙂

  2. rusty duck says:

    I saw some for sale today and was very very tempted. But then I thought of Mr P and decided against it. He is roosting in a tree at the bottom of the garden..
    I do hope yours remain unmunched. They are so beautiful.

    • Pauline says:

      As far as I know, Mr.P isn’t roosting in any of our trees Jessica, thank goodness,I’m sure I would have heard him! So far rusty pheasant is doing his job.

  3. I hope the rusty one saves your fritillaries this year Pauline – they are superb. My don’t do very well. I think my woodland bank gets too dry for the bulbs in summer. My only ‘guard’ has been garlic to protect plants the voles might eat.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, me too Cathy! I think your bulbs would prefer a damper site than a well drained bank in summer, mine are in a lower area in the woodland which always seems to stay damp. I was amused to read that you use garlic as your guard, as long as it against voles and hopefully not vampires!

  4. Christina says:

    I was taken by surprise by your Fritillaries Pauline; I look forward to seeing them each year. I’ve always loved them but have never lived anywhere they would thrive. My fingers are crossed for you that Rusty P does the job!

    • Pauline says:

      I was surprised too Christina, they seem early this year. If rusty pheasant doesn’t work, I saw a very realistic life size fox at the garden centre the other day, that can be plan B!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I have a fairly life-like owl, but he seems to fool no one. I hope your rusty peacock works. Those little checkered flowers are always so pretty in your garden each spring you show them .

    • Pauline says:

      The rusty pheasant has worked for the last 2 or 3 years Jennifer, I try to remember to move him each day, do you move your owl at all? I love the fritillary flowers and am so glad that they now take over from all the snowdrops which are just about finished.

  6. Annette says:

    I love them too, Pauline, and what a nightmare to be thinking a pheasant might finish them off! Hope Mr. Rusty does the job. Sadly fritillaries are not that happy in my garden as the soil is baking too much during the summer but some keep returning – maybe a drought-resistant lot is developping after all! Hope all is well. Have a nice spring…you know I often dream about your woodland garden at this time of year. 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      They do tend to like damp soil Annette, I’m just so pleased to find plants that can cope with our heavy wet clay. Mr Rusty is doing just fine so far, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed as well! The woodland is such a lovely place to be now that all the spring bulbs are flowering, I have to have my daily fix.

  7. Anna says:

    I hope that Rusty Pheasant is performing his sentry duties to an acceptable standard Pauline. It’s bulbs here that need protection from the squirrels when first planted and at the allotment the main enemy (only recently) comes in the shape of rabbits.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Anna, Rusty Pheasant is doing well so far, we just hope that it stays that way. Squirrels and mice are a problem at bulb planting time here, but by picking up every tiny bit of the outer casings of the bulbs that drop and planting them deep enough seems to do the trick. Rabbits once occupied the garden here when we had a dog, as soon as she died, neighbours cats started visiting and one of them managed to get rid of the rabbits by killing all the babies, but that wouldn’t really work for your allotment I’m afraid.

  8. snowbird says:

    Oh, they are just fabulous, here’s to the pheasant keeping his distance! I have a few white ones this year.xxx

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Dina, I love them too! White ones are just starting to open, they never seem to be the first to flower. At first I thought maybe you meant you had white pheasants, we had a white female here 2 yrs ago, unfortunately she was a victim of the local fox.

  9. Sally says:

    Everything is coming to life and your Fritillaries are wonderful. I didn’t realize they were such a delectable snack for pheasants but, everything is food for something else, isn’t it?Fritillaries are a must for my woodland garden!

    • Pauline says:

      Pheasants love them Sally, especially at the bud stage, they must make a tasty snack! Really they are plants of damp meadows, I think I was just lucky that they seem to like my woodland!

  10. Jason says:

    No pheasants here, rusty or otherwise. No Fritillaries either, I’ve never planted them. Yours are looking elegant, though.

  11. debsgarden says:

    Fritillaries are the most delightful flowers! I hope Mr. P stays far away. I love all your woodland bulbs!

    • Pauline says:

      So far Deb, Mr P has been very quiet, we usually hear him making his presence felt on the field next door where he struts around with all his ladies, I hope it stays that way! When we bought the house with its little bit of woodland, I had no idea that this area would become so important to me, I love it at this time of year.

  12. Caro says:

    Not having any pheasants around here in north London, I almost bought some fritillarias from the garden centre the other day, they are SO beautiful especially planted with daffs. I didn’t buy any though as I wondered whether the foliage looks a bit tatty after the flowers have faded. Have you any tips for that, Pauline?

    • Pauline says:

      The foliage is a problem, I admit, Caro. It gets very tall after the flowers have gone over and the seed heads rise above it, looking rather a mess.I’m lucky in that by the time this happens, there isn’t much of interest in the woodland, so I don’t have to look at it! All I can think of for you is that you grow tall plants round them which will hide the messiness after they have flowered. I hope this is a help.

  13. Diana Studer says:

    Your fritillaries are magnificent.
    When I first saw drawings of chequered flowers, I thought they were invented.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Diana, they are pretty special to me too.The chequered pattern is amazing and I love that they come in different shades of purple and white.

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