My Favorite Spring Bulb: Fritillaria meleagris


No other flower I know of has a bloom quite like this unusual one. I always refer to it as the Checkered Lily, but it is also called the Guinea-Hen Flower, and the Snake’s Head Fritillary. It is a spring-blooming bulb that grows to about one-foot tall. For best results, plant in a part sun/part shade location, somewhere where you can see it from inside or near the house since it does bloom often when it is still a bit chilly outside. I must add that the squirrels probably feed on some of these in our garden. I am sure that I planted more of these, but it was so long ago I’ve simply forgotten.

When You Wish Upon a Star…


Seen here is the amazing white version of the North American native perennial Dodecatheon meadia. These little delicate blossoms are so beautiful they’ve inspired many colorful and creative names over the years but its most popular common name is simply “Shooting Star”. Other common names include: American Cowslip (since it is a relative of the primrose), Indian Chief, Rooster Heads and Pink Flamingo Plant. Since the plants grow east of the Rocky Mountains—in virtually every state—I’m sure that I’m missing a name or two. (Let me know if you know any more…)

Though once plentiful, this plant is now considered a rare, threatened or endangered plant in many states in the US: Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and New York—just to name a few. When purchasing, be sure that you buy plants from licensed growers, or else grow them from seed yourself. I have done so, but I must admit, this is not one of them. (My little ones still have a few more years in their nursery before they’ll be ready to show the world their stuff. Some plants simply take longer to grow.)

One confusing aspect to growing them though is that after their bloom is done, and their leaves start to die off, the whole plant kind of disappears. That is normal for this plant and it will come back. It has simply entered into summer dormancy. Therefore, caution has to be used to plant around them as they sleep through their summer dormancy, and then their fall and winter dormancies after that, but just like any great wildflower, they will be back next spring, so leave them some space on your stage.

Have you made a wish yet?