Friday, 8 April 2016

Fritillaria meleagris

I was taken by surprise as I wandered around the garden and discovered that the snake's head fritillaries were already in flower - it had slipped my mind that their arrival was imminent.

It was a relief to see their pretty faces once more - I had been under the impression that our visiting female deer was feasting on them. Having now looked closely at the area where they grow and where she feeds, I see that the naughty furry lady has been dinning out on our dormant cyclamen plants, but hopefully they have enough time to recover before their autumn flowering.

There are many clumps yet to open, but here you can clearly see where their common name 'snakes head' is derived from. I shall have to watch out for the Red Lily Beetle - she is rather partial to them too

You were designed to tease -
art deco inspiration

with uncanny stylised
chequer boards
magenta pixel dashes
 
a playful coyness
toying with our notions
of botanical convention
 Stephanie Goodacre
 

48 comments:

  1. Flores fantásticas e belas fotografias.
    Um abraço e bom fim de semana.
    http://andarilharar.blogspot.pt/

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    1. Obrigado por seu comentário gentil e visita

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  2. Dear Rosemary, I have never seen such a healthy clump of Fritillaria. Each time you share a glimpse of your garden I realize what a fine plantsman you are. Beautiful photographs. The underplantings of forget-me-nots are just the right color to help show off your Fritillaria.

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    1. Dear Gina - thank you for commenting, you must be busy packing your bags ready for your trip. The fritillaries are very good this year, they have enjoyed all the spring rains. In medieval times they grew prolifically around here in the water meadows, and I think that they also love our soil. There is still one very large original meadow near to here which is a protected nature reserve and has 1000s of them. The meadow has never been ploughed and is treated in the same manner as hundreds of years ago i.e it is cut late in the season using hand scyths.
      Happy travels to you both.

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  3. Those snake head flowers are so beautiful! I've never seen them here in Canada.

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    1. They are a British wildflower Debra that sadly is in decline in the wild, but many gardens here have them growing from bulbs that have been cultivated by garden nurseries. I think that they will grow in certain zones in Canada and the USA.

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  4. Pretty flower, not sure we have them here.

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    1. I imagine that it would be much too hot where you live for these to grow - they like lots of spring moisture and the soil here in the Cotswolds. They is a huge meadow full of them in Cricklade which you have probably visited.

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  5. What dainty plants they are. They look like they're growing naturally, exactly where they love to be.

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    1. I love these fritallaries they remind me of little Moroccan lamps.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, The patterns found in nature can be amazing. I can imagine that found on the snake's head fritillaries equally as a wild fabric print or as a stained-glass window.
    --Jim

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    1. Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish Art Nouveau architect and artist, did a lovely watercolour of these fritallaries, and the other day I came across some fabric by Emily Burningham which you can see here if you are interested
      https://emilyburningham.com/product-category/fabrics/

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  7. Beautiful plants and can say I haven't heard of them before. Lovely photos once again.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing them Margaret, I am always pleased to see them again each spring.

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  8. snake's head fritillaries were already in flower ... and they are so lovely

    Enjoy your Friday Rosemary

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan and hope that you have a happy weekend - I must admit I love my little fritallaries.

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  9. I've never seen these flowers before. They're so interesting! I can see where the name "snake's head" must have come from, in the shape and the markings both. I just noticed buds on my irises yesterday. I'm hoping for a bloom within the week.

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    1. It is an increasingly rare wild flower Jennifer, and mainly due to its habitat being made over to agriculture and draining the land. They like a very moist habitat, and this spring we have had plenty of rain. If you give them the right conditions they multiply and naturalise the garden very well as they have done in my garden.

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  10. I've never seen these flowers either but they look so pretty.Great captures Rosemary! Enjoy the season and happy weekend!
    Olympia

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    1. I marvel at their prettiness each and every spring Olympia, and this year they have outshone themselves in our garden.

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  11. They are amazing flowers aren't they. I am not sure if it is the shame or the chequerboard effect that I love more! xx

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    1. I just love the whole flower Amy - they are little laterns

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  12. It's always such a pleasure to come across a flower blooming unexpectedly. Snake's head fritillaries are a beautiful, unusual flower and I love your photos of them. I tried to establish them here but they haven't taken at all. I don't think that something has eaten them, I just think they haven't survived.

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    1. I only had a single packet of about 6 bulbs Wendy but over the years they have increased dramatically. I have them around a large tree with is then surrounded by a box hedge where they live protected and multiply to their hearts content. They are even appearing in other parts of the garden probably carried their by the birds.
      In this area they grow very well - you may know about the Cotswold medieval water meadow in Cricklade which is worth a visit, there they grow in their thousands and are a spectacle to see.

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  13. How utterly beautiful. Do you read the blog Drawings from Nature? It's here http://drawingsfromnature-milly.blogspot.ca/
    I love it - especially Eileen's drawings of the fritillaries. I think you'd enjoy them too.
    This year, our second in this new-old house, the deer have left the back garden alone for some reason, and I am pretty sure I'll see a fritillary or two. Fingers crossed!

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    1. Dear H - our deer is here daily, but I don't think she is doing too much harm and she does look as if she needs a good feed. The other day she was right up against the patio window and I could see that she has some bald patches on her neck, so I feel rather sad about her and what the future holds.
      I have been to visit Milly and love her ink drawings of the fritalliary - like her brown hare, it would make a lovely fabric. Thank you for bringing my attention to her love blog.

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  14. A very interesting plant, Rosemary, and beautifully photographed. However, anything that looks like a snake's head I would find very difficult to love! My eyes are drawn to the dear little forget-me-nots, sweet reminders of my daughter's Canadian garden.

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    1. There are no such connotations for me Patricia as we only have three snakes here: smooth snake harmless, grass snake harmless, and adder which are venomous but only if attacked - I have only ever seen two grass snakes in my whole life. Our forget-me-nots are rampant and have to be pulled out by the handfull, but they shed their seeds and always come back.

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  15. They are wonderful - thank you for sharing.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing these pretty little flowers Susan

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  16. Don't you just love these surprises when you wander the garden , beautiful color combination of purple and light blue . Really like the 'forget me not's ', can't get enough of them in my garden :-)

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    1. They do make for a 'happy marriage' Jane, I agree

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  17. Hello Rosemary, thank you for your comment and How lovely to see your beautiful photographs of the snakehead fritillary. Yes it is such a thrill each year to discover them growing again and wonder at these amazing Flowers, I am really pleased with how many flowers I have and each day take the time to visit them. I am trying to sketch as many as possible, when my eyes allow it!
    They are such a fascinating flower, love both their shapes and patterns, they are so elegant. Yes I do think they would make a beautiful fabric. Enjoy yours while they last, I am always admiring mine. Have a lovely weekend, hope you also have some sunshine too. Milly

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    1. Thank you for visiting Millty - we have to enjoy these little gems whilst they are still with us.

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  18. Beautiful! The flower and the photos! Happy Spring!

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  19. What a beautiful and unusual plant. I have never seen one before. I am so happy your furry critter didn't feast on them.

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    1. It is really difficult to see what she is feeding on apart from the cyclamen - we don't mind if she browses the hedge, it saves us cutting it!

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  20. Oh Rosemary, you are so lucky to have them. I've tried and failed, something (deer, the pheasant) gets them every time.

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    1. Dear Jessica - it would appear that the deer, at least in my garden, is not responsible, but I have read somewhere that a pheasant could be the one to blame.

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  21. The snake’s head is new to me but I found it so enchanting. The flower on the stalk looks like a lampshade. It’d be wonderful if the snake’s head lampshade is made of glass.

    Yoko

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    1. It reminds me of little laterns too Yoko

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  22. they are so pretty but also quite exotic looking xxx

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    1. These used to grow wild in water meadows up and down the country during medieval times.

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  23. I'm pleased to read that the deer hasn't found these treasures. I have wondered whether to buy some. I usually see them in grass but it looks as if you have included them in your borders. Is it better to buy them in the green or as bulbs? Sarah x

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    1. They are in an area around a tree in the lawn with lots of other bulbs - I had a packet of bulbs may be less than a dozen that I planted, and now we must have getting on for at least a hundred. This year they are particularly good because of all the moisture.

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  24. Spring time, lovely photos.

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    1. thanks Orvokki - I love my fritillaries

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