|The unique snakeskin patterning of fritillary petals|
|Snake's-head and Lesser Celandines|
Nothing says early April in this garden like the small clumps of fritillaries flowering in the damp turf next to the top pond and in the woodland meadow. There aren't many and their rate of natural increase is barely keeping up with the annual toll of corms nibbled by mice and voles. In some previous years the unfurling flower buds have also been systematically nipped off by Pheasants (close eyes, breathe deeply and count to ten, before Googling "terrine of game"). Depradations of marauding wildlife nothwithstanding, this spring the fritillaries are putting on a fine show, reminding me of my teenage pilgrimage to the wild fritillary meadows of the Gloucestershire–Wiltshire borders. No smartphones, iPads or Facebook back then. What else was a boy to do?
|Pot of 'grass' – fritillary seeds sown last summer|