Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Snake in the Grass

Fritillaria meleagris

Fritillaria meleagris –  Add plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost to the soil prior to planting to improve soil.  Plant snakes head fritillary bulbs at a depth of 4″ and 4″ apart. The bulbs are fragile so always handle them with care. Planting them on their sides will help to avoid water collecting in their hollow crowns and prevent the bulbs from rotting. Divide from August to September. Information and picture from thompson-morgan.com

I have tried to grow these lovely things before without any success. I now have fifty bulbs and have to decide where to plant them. Some plants men say that the flower is deadly poisonous. It has many common names as well as snakehead it is called lepers lily.

Grigson, in his Englishman’s Flora, calls the Fritillaria  meleagris snaky, deadly beauties, but there is little written evidence of harm.

On sunless days in winter, we shall know
By whom the silver gossamer is spun,
Who paints the diapered fritillaries,
On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)