Fritillaria Meleagris

The appearance of the Fritillaria  Meleagris I find rather unusual. Last year the blooms opened on the second day of April.

This Spring, it was the very end of April before the flowers opened, confirming the suggestion by others that the long Winter did indeed put us  a good three weeks  and more behind.

However, none of our Spring plants have suffered as a result of this, in fact if anything they seem to have emerged more robust and eye catching than is usual.

As much as we have always been fond of the Fritillaria  Meleagris it has always seemed like a plant difficult to place.

A couple of years ago we decided to turn a couple of borders in the back garden into Heather beds.

One of these borders is visible from our kitchen window, bedded up with Heathers, two dwarf Azaleas and three Box Pyramids.  We felt we could add a little extra interest in Spring by planting some bulbs giving us blooms popping up through the Heather.   The problem was going to be messy foliage looking untidy and spoiling the appearance of the heather.

Well, I think the decision to plant Fritillaria  Meleagris has been just ideal.  I can hardly imagine that they are a typical example of a companion to Heather, but yet something looks just right about it, and the thin wiry stems of this Fritillaria soon die back after flowering, leaving the Heather beds to get on with what they do best.

At this stage, whilst writing my post, I haven’t as yet taken a long shot of the border in question, I will do this tomorrow.   I have a feeling that the Fritillaria may not show up as well as I may hope,  I will take a few shots and see how it goes.

I reckon you are more likely to see this British wildflower growing in gardens, the combination of simplicity yet charm is likely to make you want to examine this treasure at close quarters.

The nodding, various shades of purple bell shaped flowers are individually marked in a checked pattern. Meleagris also comes in shades of creamy white.

The grey/green leaves are very narrow  and the single bloom is carried on a strong wiry stem about 30cm tall.   I say single bloom but occasionally you will come across those which carry two flowers per stem.

Fritillaria are more often seen in woodland gardens, a position where I expect the majority of gardeners would have them.

Blooming in Spring, another fully hardy bulbous perennial that is fully hardy for the gardener in Scotland.

• Position – Full sun/partial shade

• Height – 30cm/12″

• Soil – well draining humus rich

*** Fritillaria meleagris  ***

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Another Fritillaria which we do have, and in the woodland area of our garden is, (Fritillaria Pyrenaica) Flowers much at the same time as Meleagris,  blooms are a little larger and have more of a cultivated appearance. This one was purchased in the green over ten years ago. A nice little clump of them, last year for the first time they seemed to be weakening, but for whatever reason this year the clump is looking much stronger again.

I am unable to find a supplier for this one.

I just received a link from Helene with this link to Rare Plants.  So many unusual Fritillaria.

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I Have to say this one below  Pallidiflora is quite outstanding.  As yet it is not in our own garden, however it is an absolute must for our woodland area. I took these shots of Pallidiflora on a visit to Crathes in April of last year. The yellow flower heads with green stripes are considerably larger than the other two Fritillaries displayed above.

Hardiness – Fully hardy

Position – shade/part shade

Height – 30cm/12″

Mail order

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The long Winter held plant growth back,everything came on in leaps and bounds in the first week of May.  Pictures below show the garden looking a lot happier.

Back garden May 6th (5)

If you happen to leave a comment I will be sure to visit your site and do the same

© 2013 – 2015, Alistair. All rights reserved.

65 thoughts on “Fritillaria Meleagris

  1. Absolutely stunning, Alasdair. May I ask how many hours per week you need to spend to keep your garden looking like that?

    I didn’t really “get” fritillaria before but I love it with the heather and the box. It’s a lovely example of how the right combination of plants really compliment each other. Quite dazzling in fact!

    Have a lovely weekend.
    Claire recently posted..Tough plants from Yorkshire

    1. I must admit Claire it was Myra that had the stronger preference for the Fritillaria. I often need a bit more time for things to grow on me, metaphorically speaking that is. Most days I find something to do in the garden but the time spent doesn’t seem to be excessive.

  2. I love the Fritillaria Meleagris Alistair… I planted a great many fritillarias last fall but many have not come up. Our spring has come upon us all of a sudden… the magnolias are outstanding and I just posted more pictures last evening. The tulips are all in bloom as well and flowering crabs should open mid-week. I love your primulas… I lost a great many this winter because of a major January rain that froze over the crowns I suspect… take care, Larry

  3. Oh yes Alistair… I forgot to mention… I received the 110 lily bulbs from England… they were sent anew after the first didn’t make it through customs because a necessary label had fallen off. The bulbs are fantastic and most are orienpets that I’ve never come across here in the states… now for the planting (and the room to plant them!) Larry
    Larry recently posted..A sudden burst of spring!

    1. Glad they turned up Larry. It would be stretching the boundaries planting them this late over here, although I expect your Summer warmth will bring them on.

  4. Everything is looking fabulous Alistair. I fell in love with this fritillaria a couple of years ago and planted it around in spots. I found the creamy white variety and put some in the white garden. I love it so much I will be adding more to the white garden. I love the other 2 examples and will see if anyone in the States has them to plant.

    Sorry to hear about your blog issues. I have them from time to time and they can be most annoying.
    [email protected] Eye View recently posted..Gardens Eye Journal-May 2013

    1. Donna, I have a preference for the white form of Meleagris. Blog issue has been resolved, unfortunately blotanical doesn’t seem to recognise that it has.

  5. The shot of your garden is just stunning! The tulips are lovely. And thank you SO much for the long shot of the fritillaria. I have only ever seen close up shots, and in my mind, these were tiny little blooms, much like snowdrops. Now that I can see that they are actually quite tall, and stand out, I think I’m going to have to try to add some of them to my garden!
    Holleygarden recently posted..The Main Rose Garden, Part 1

  6. Great photo’s as always. You are lucky that so far you appear to be one of the last outposts in the UK to be unaffected by lily beetle. Fritillaries are the earliest of the lily family to emerge here and therefore are always hit first letting me know that it is time to get the sprayer out. I used to crush them by hand but now use a combination of both methods as if you rely on manual control you always miss some!
    Rick recently posted..…….No it isn’t…..

  7. Hi Alistair, your garden sure look happy! Really lovely with everything coming into flower. It’s strange you say your garden is about 3 weeks late, here in London my garden is about 6 weeks late and some plants are almost 8 weeks later in flower than a normal year. However, some plants that should emerge now, are emerging about time, my paeonies for example are probably not going to be that late at all, perhaps maybe just a couple of weeks, it’s mainly plants affected by the weather in February March and April – my camellia and the roses for example, that are late. No roses yet!

    I love fritillarias, used to have some but I don’t think I planted them in the right place. I have been thinking of getting some for my woodland area, I think they will be much more happy down there. As for the Fritillaria pyrenaica, try http://www.rareplants.co.uk, they are a bit expensive but they have an incredible amount of plants for sale, including this one.
    Take care, Helene.
    Helene recently posted..The sweetest mice for a garden

    1. True enough Helene, although the Fritillaria is 2/3 weeks late many others have been later Thanks for the link to rare plants, I will add it now. I see they don’t actually include it in their list of Fritillarias but using their search box does bring it up as being out of stock and very difficult to find.

          1. Seems like the Fritillaria can be a hit or a miss Jordan. The Picea is quite stunning, I think we call this type of topiary, cloud trees.

  8. Hi Alastair – Nature has the knack of making unlikely combinations work together. I find the smaller fritillaria quite intriguing, they look like the’ve been made by origami with a piece of squared paper. The larger frillaria have such beautiful foliage, I am still waiting for the flowers of persica. In the meantime I’ll enjoy looking at yours.
    b-a-g recently posted..Forgetmenots (07 MAY 2013)

  9. I love Fritillaria. But none of the species I tried have lasted more than a few years, with the exception of Fritillaria pudica. I got seed at a native plant sale about 10 years ago. It bloomed this spring for the 1st time. The Picea you admired in my last post is typical of a pruning style used by Asian gardeners in Seattle. It used to be that many shrubs in the city were pruned in this way, which some people refer to as the poodle-dog style. But as professional Japanese gardeners have died out, this style has become less common. Thank you for your comment.

  10. How healthy your garden looks Alistair. I especially like that you have your Fritillaria growing amongst the heather. It’s quite a nice effect. I’ve seen it underplanted with Sanguisorba, which is another way of hiding the dying foliage.
    Your bench in the 2nd last picture looks very inviting!
    Angie recently posted..White Narcissus

  11. Hi Alistair
    Wow! Your garden is gorgeous! I’ve always liked the beautiful curve of it and now to see colours and fresh greens makes it a delight.
    You have so many interesting Fritillaria that I have never seen before. My all-time favourite has always been the one that looks like a mauve checkerboard. I’ve tried Fritillaria a few times but no luck. Glad you had so many to show us.
    Astrid recently posted..Lovely Tulips and Daffodils

  12. Hi Alistair! I love all the fritillaries, they all look so sculptural and meleagris, in particular, with that pattern almost looks unreal. Unfortunately I don’t have ideal growing conditions for fritillaries in my garden and the fact they are often rather expensive (except for meleagris, though) makes me look the other way. Love your heather bed.
    Alberto recently posted..Rose Boom

  13. hi Alastair, I do love Fritillaria and suddenly realize what they remind me of – those old fashioned Victorian lampshades. I especially love the first photo with the light shining through the petals. I could never grow them because they need water but I can imagine they might be hard to place. Your garden looks divine, and very loved.
    catmint recently posted..living with uninvited non-humans

    1. Hi Kininvie, the mice here seem to be content to share the sunflower seed hearts which Myra puts out for the birds.
      Comments I make on your blog I think are going into your akismet spam, also happening with Linnie, Alberto and some other wordpress blogs. I cant seem to be able to sort this out from my side.

  14. I used to have an unusual clump of Fritillaria years ago – I don’t think they were ‘rare’………but they only appeared for about 3 years and then disappeared. Your garden is lovely Alistair with so much lovely foliage as a backdrop. I always had visions of my brown fences disappearing behind a hue of green but sadly the awful wet soil only allows herbaceous and aquatic type plants to grow in half of my back garden.

    1. Hi Rosie, Meleagris seems to be dependable. I think each garden has its own appeal and I am very taken with yours and the great selection of plants which you have. Enjoyed your Brunnera post and I did indeed order a few new ones.

  15. Thanks for the informative post Alistair. I want to try growing fritillaria too but they are really so odd looking I can’t figure out where to place them. They look superb rising out of the heather like that, if only heather would grow here. Maybe under some other green groundcover like pachysandra. That pallidiflora is gorgeous too – I always learn about interesting new plants on your blog!
    spurge recently posted..What’s Blooming Today

    1. Hi Carolyn, the meleagris seems to be more dependable than a lot of them. Thanks for confirming my comments are ending p in your spam. Kininvie suggests that for some reason I am being picked up as a robot, ah well i’ve been called a lot of things in the past.

  16. Hi Alistair, your garden is looking amazing (as always!). Fritillaria is one of those plants that I haven’t made my mind up about yet. Being a bit of a spinster, I would probably have them in the garden if I could buy wholesale bulbs at low enough prices!
    Sunil Patel recently posted..GBBD for May 2013

    1. They do seem to be a bit fussy Donna. Thanks for confirming that my comments to your site are ending up in the spam. If any of my other blogging friends with wordpress haven’t heard from me for a while now you know where the comments are. Trying hard to figure out the reason for this.

  17. I would be happy to live in your garden, Alistair. It exudes peace and calm… I do hope you spend time just sitting on that bench basking in the glory you have created. Us gardens don’t do enough of that.

  18. Alistair, this is one of my favorite spring flowers, but one which I have had absolutely abysmal luck with! We have the perfect place for it, and over the past 9 years, have replanted at least 5 times. I can’t explain why it doesn’t do well here, but I refuse to give up! Your pictures have made me want to shop again in earnest for more!

  19. Hi Alistair
    Interesting to see all those varieties of lilies. We have Fritillaria affinis, called checkerlily, a wildflower, and it seeds itself politely in my garden. As usual you have raised my awareness so I will look for other colors– it seems there are many!

  20. Wow – pallidiflora is outstanding. But I bet it’s one of those plants that you buy at enormous expense, carefully mark, wait for with anticipation…..and then, nothing! It just has that look, somehow. Reminds me of several girls I once knew.
    kininvie recently posted..Omphalodes – and others

  21. I’m not a fritillary fan – something I consider a failing, along with not liking orchids. But the top meleagris looks phenomenal and the pink pretty special. (Can’t say I’m very struck on the white version.) But something perplexes me – if these are woodland plants, why do they like full sun?
    Esther Montgomery recently posted..NOT READING YOUR BLOGS

    1. Hi Esther, these Fritillarias are equally happy in the woodland or open meadow. I think the woodland is acceptable owing to the fact that the blooms open before the canopy above becomes enveloped in leaves, which means they have the partial shade which I refer to as being acceptable.

  22. I have never seen Pallidiflora before. So pretty! I agree that the foliage of Fritillaria Meleagris can be a bit messy looking. Placing them in among the heather was a great idea. They look perfect there.
    [email protected] recently posted..A Bouquet so fresh the Bees Approve

  23. I guess you haven’t got the dreaded Lily Beetle yet ? Your Fritillaries are unsullied and don’t resemble lace curtains, so I am assuming the Lily beetle is still marching northward up the A1 ! My Fritillaries look great then overnight are decimated. So sad as they are fantastic !

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