Saturday, 10 April 2021

Fritillaria meleagris

Large clumps of Snakes Head Fritillaries have been gracing our garden over the past three weeks, but sadly they are now almost finished. 
Not too far away from home there is a large traditional hay meadow where an enormous number of fritillaries have yet to bloom. These particular plants represent 80% of the entire population of wild fritillaries to be found in Britain. Numbers in the meadow can vary each year but average over 500,000. They require floodplain meadow habitat to thrive, traditional hay meadow management, and periodic flooding. They are intolerant of grazing during the growing season, but receive an annual hay cut during mid-summer, which is then followed by grazing cows in September. 
Once there were similar hay meadows along much of the Upper Thames river area, but most have now been lost due to drainage, and modern agriculture methods.
The wild meadow fritillaries bloom far later than the cultivated ones in the garden, so I am hopeful that I may have a further opportunity to see more of these pretty flowers soon.

When light slants before the sunset, this is
The proper time to watch fritillaries.
They entered creeping; you go on your knees,
The flowers level with your eyes,
And catch the dapple of sunlight through the petals...

Anne Ridler 


39 comments:

  1. One of my very favourites. I first encountered them in a painting by Charles Rennie Mackintosh; I thought the chequered flowers were so stylised they couldn't possibly exist, but many years later in a small garden centre I was thrilled to bits to discover them there in pots - I bought up their entire stock of five pots there and then. I've grown them in every garden I've had since. Close to where I lived in Dorset they were beautiful in Holwell churchyard. Mine are just flowering here now in s.w. Scotland.

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    1. Thank you for your visit MrsL - I too also first encountered Snakes Head fritillaries courtesy the very same painting by Charles Rennie Mackintosh when I was living in Glasgow.

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  2. Dearest Rosemary,
    A lovely flower indeed.
    Sure those floodplains have been used more and more to grow crops, due to a growing population and a high food demand.
    So what is your suggestion in lowering the population for the benefit of certain wild flowers?
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  3. Dear Rosemary,
    Creeping I go on my knees I have done many a time. Not just to have a closer look at my Fritillaries but also Hellebore and a few other flowers.
    I hope that you will visit your special meadow so that we can see 500,000 all in one place.

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    1. Dear Gina - me too. As long as there is a suitable day at the time of their blooming I shall try and visit the meadow. Next week I have a full diary, I can hardly believe it, the first full diary since last September.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, fritillaries are one of the wonders of nature. How lucky for you to have them in your own garden as well as the wild ones nearby.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I agree, they are such pretty flowers. I am surprised that they thrive as well as they do in our garden. As our ground is oolithic it is extremely dry, and even when it rains it soaks away quickly.

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  5. I've never seen those types of flowers before but they are just gorgeous! I also like the two figurines behind them in your photo -- very much!

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing them Debra - I have had the pottery medieval ladies for a very long time. They were made by a lady potter.

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  6. These delightful flowers blend perfectly with your beautiful medieval ladies Rosemary. I hope you will see the wild ones later - wear your knee pads!
    Meanwhile I was down on the ground yesterday photographing azaleas opening!

    I'm still not doing so great with collages on PicMonkey - much harder than the old way - as are many edits we used to do so easily. Do you agree?

    Happy weekend dear - Mary x

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    1. Dear Mary - I so dislike PicMonkey now everything has changed. Simply putting a border around the image on here was much more difficult than previously and it didn't even work out as I had hoped. I cannot do collages any longer, you are far better at them than I am, and on the whole it takes far longer to carry out each edit than previously. Bring back Old PicMonkey.
      That is a good suggestion to take kneee pads, the only trouble is trying to get back up again.
      Happy weekend to you too MaryX

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  7. I've never seen those flowers before, and they are breath-taking! Thanks for giving me something else to enjoy!

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    1. Thank you - I am so pleased that you enjoyed both seeing and learning about these pretty little flowers - they always give us so much pleasure when they show their faces every spring.

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  8. These are new to me too. Sure would be fun to see a field of these. If I got down on my knees, I fear I would need help getting up!

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  9. What delightful flowers. I am sure the meadow will be wonderful when in full bloom.

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    1. They have a site called 'fritillary watch' which says they should be in full bloom on the 19th April.

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  10. Your Snakes Head flowers are so intriguing, Rosemary, and the effect of them in a meadow must be breath-taking. I do hope you get to see it this year. I too love your Medieval ladies, which are quite beautiful.

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    1. The ladies are one of those things that have been around for so many years that I tend to take them for granted. The same lady potter also made me a very large wall plaque, with a contemporary twist, representing an ammomite.

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  11. They're beautiful flowers - almost too good to be true! I always wondered where all the wild ones were hiding and now I know.

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    1. When I visit I could do with the loan of your flower photography skills or may be a drone.
      https://crickladecourtleet.org.uk/still-too-early-to-see-the-snakes-head-fritillaries/

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  12. Frittileries are difficult plants to grow, they either like your garden or don't... your pictures are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Betty - for some reason they flourish happily in our garden.

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  13. Very rare up here. The only place I've ever seen Fritillaries of any kind is in the University of Glasgow meadow borders in a type of superior wildflower mixture sown into grass that included red poppies, snowdrops, harebells, and cornflowers though not all appearing at exactly the same time. I always noticed a difference in climate once I'd passed Coventry though, heading south, as apples, plums, and pear trees started appearing in gardens. Minus three at night here for the last week is maybe why.

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    1. I must admit that when I first went to live in Glasgow I did notice the the flowers and vegetation were very different to what I was familiar with seeing in my home county of Derbyshire, but when I first visited even further south it was even more pronounced.

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  14. The magnificence of the blooms is rivalled only by the splendour of the vases! I am sure that a skilled still life artist could do wonders with that tableau.

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    1. They are very pretty flowers David, and I would be very happy for anyone to give your suggestion a try.

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  15. A spectacular flower with a not so nice smell . Beautiful still life |

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    1. These do not smell Jane - it is the Fritillaria imperialis - crown imperials that have a rather unpleasant smell.

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  16. Fritallaria are not common here, but I saw some recently in a garden. They are striking.

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  17. Dear Rosemary - Snakehead Fritillaries are so impressive that I remember them on your past post. The image of the flower would make chic lampshade. I love the poem. I can relate to it when I went on my knees to the cosmos filed and photographed the flowers low-angle right before sunset, golden time. I'm amazed with the drastic decrease of infection number in Britain, probably due to herd immunity. Swift operation of vaccination is commendable.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - they certainly would make very pretty/chic lampshades. I don't know whether you know or have heard of Tiffany lamps but they are not dissimilar to these fritillaries.
      Yes, you are right about the reduction in deaths, and it is such a great relief to all of us.

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  18. Saw most wonderful displays of these in the lawns of the orchard at Fenton House, London. I know they're not wild, of course. Most beautiful plants. Remind me of little lampshades, somehow./

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    1. These little flowers really need to be seen and admired in flesh.

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