Above: Fritillaria davisii, grown in a shallow bowl, in which the main component is grit.
Alpine gardening: For those of us who don’t quite grasp the concept, these little Fritillaria davisii are a lesson in this kind of approach. Small, delicately colored, with a love of good drainage, they respond to a little pampering. Raised up in a flat, wide container (or grown in a Victorian rockery if you prefer) they can be examined, regularly, instead of getting lost out in the open.
Above: Fritillaria uva-vulpis, or fox’s grape fritillary.
Polly planted 1,000 bulbs of the uva-vulpis variety in her flower field, away from the house. “The bulbs are very good value, so you can afford to be generous,” says Polly, who sources hers from Dix in the Netherlands. “We planted 1,000 in the field this year, and will double that, at least, for next year.”
They are a wonderfully neat shape, and perfectly suit their nickname of “fox’s grape.” With their dark, purple-brown flowers edged in yellow, Fritillaria uva-vulpis need to be grown for cutting, or kept at eye level in a container: brick walls and early spring earth would swallow them up.
Above: Fritillaria acmopetala, which shares a dainty look with Fritillaria meleagris. Both are fully hardy and tough, though they can be tempting fodder for birds.
Above: Fritillaria persica ‘Bicolor’.
The dramatic coloring and structure of Fritillaria persica ‘Bicolor’ makes it instantly desirable. Along with ‘Ivory Bells’ and ‘Midnight Bells’, the bulbs are eye-wateringly expensive. This is justified by their desirability for florists with a connoisseur’s eye, like Shane Connolly: “I am aiming to grow things which are different and set us apart,” says Polly.
Above: Fritillaria persica ‘Bicolor’, grown in quantity in the flower field.