I have been trying to remember when I first planted these bulbs in my own garden and I just can’t remember not having them. They are a ‘must-have’ to my mind for the cottage and informal garden feel and are perfectly suited to partially shaded areas with some sun under deciduous tress. Fritillaria meleagris suit a diversity of planting locations, such as gravel or naturalised in grass, preferring a well drained soil.

They have a beautiful charm about them with their exquisitely drooping chequered flower heads on tall elegant stems and leaves to match, planted in a dense swathe they look truly beguiling and I can never walk past them without really stopping to take a very close look. In my garden I have them planted with other spring flowering bulbs, such as Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebells) in all its colour forms and together they are total enchantment.

Judi the Gardener logo design by Susan Holmes

In fact, I love Fritillaria meleagris so much that I recently commissioned a very talented graphic designer by the name of Susan Holmes to include this plant in my company logo design. I was utterly overwhelmed by the results and as I’m sure you’ll agree it is absolutely beautiful. I have a passion for botanical paintings and in particular I am often in raptures over the work of Lilian Snelling (1879–1972), Illustrator for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.

Botanical name: Fritillaria meleagris
Other names: Snake’s head fritillary, Guinea flower, Snake heads, Guinea-hen flower, Drooping tulip, Leper lily, Chequered daffodil, Chequered lily
Genus: Fritillaria
Species: F. meleagris – F. meleagris is a small bulbous perennial with narrow -grey-green leaves and delicate, nodding, bell-shaped flowers that have purple and pink markings resembling a chess-board in spring.
Fritillaria meleagris is: Deciduous
Flower: Purple, Pink, Checkered in Spring
Foliage: Green in Summer
Habit: Erect

If you would like to talk with me about a new planting scheme in your garden, please do feel free to get in touch, my email is judi@judithegardener.co.uk. For gardening maintenance enquiries (North-East London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Enfield) please telephone 07818 005773. Always happy to answer gardening questions if I can or steer you towards resources. Happy gardening!