Thursday, 8 March 2018

Fritillaries help to fight frustration

March, according to the old proverb, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, we've seen the lion bit, now for a bit more of the lamb...please! To be honest, although many spring flowers make their appearance in March we don't expect balmy weather, but the occasional warm, sunny day would be nice.
Speaking of spring flowers, my Fritillaria meleagris flowers haven't put in an appearance yet but I am pleased that their congener, F. michailovskyi, is currently looking very attractive.
Fritillaria michailovskyi is currently flowering well in our front garden.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 8 March, 2018
I tried growing it when we lived in Byfield  but it didn't do well. It sulked and pined for its home in the mountains of northern Turkey. Fritillaries are among my favourite flowers and I ought to grow more and several rock garden species are not difficult provided they are given a really sunny spot with well-drained soil. There are around 130 species found from Britain (Fritillaria meleagris) across to Japan, plus some interesting North American species. In their lovely book The Flora of the Silk Road, (Ref 1) Christopher and Basak Gardner list 31 species they found as they followed this ancient trail. This is one of my most treasured books.
All fritillaries are open to attack by the lily beetle, Lilioceris lilii but this pest, being bright brick-red, is easy to spot and, as I dislike sprays, I simply pick off any seen.

The flowers have a more open bell than many fritillaries.
My 'Michael's Fritillaries' should continue to thrive IF they get a good summer baking, but they do not end their season gracefully: I find that the stems straggle in an untidy manner. So be it.


Gardner, C and Gardner, B. (2014) The Flora of the Silk Road  I.B.Tauris, London

Tony White.


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