Of all the spring-flowering bulbs, the snake’s head fritillary must be the prettiest. Its chequered, bell-shaped flowers are often compared to an Art Nouveau Tiffany lampshade, and you can see why, especially as the yellow stamens resemble filaments.
Seek cut blooms in florists or, if you are especially fortunate, in a damp grassy bit of your very own garden. Cut near the base of the stem and enjoy its delicate, patterned petals and slender leaves – surely the embodiment of fresh spring days.
Go and see them:
One of the most famous meadows is at Magdalen College, Oxford, where fritillaries have been growing since about 1785.