Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Municipal planting

I drove O to school this morning, and although Epping Forest was bursting into green leaf all around me, I still thought wistfully of the banks of wild cowslips and orchids which ran alongside almost all the roads in France this Easter.  Green and lush is lovely, but spring flowers lift my spirit in a way that no amount of oak foliage can.

Then at lunchtime, while I was walking through Walthamstow, out of the corner of my eye I spotted something very startling.

Municipal fritillary in Walthamstow

A snake's head fritillary sunning itself calmly in a corner of a municipal flowerbed.

Walthamstow snake's head fritillary

For a moment I thought I might have made the urban wildflower discovery of the decade, but then I remembered that you can actually buy cultivated snake's head bulbs these days.  I still crouched down to take photos and admire it though, and the mad, purple checked petals were a delight.  Sometime in my life I want to own a pair of trousers made from fabric just like this - they would be fabulous. 

It turns out that London has spring flowers at the side of the road after all - I just had to spot them.  They may not often be wild, but they still make me smile.


  1. Other than my tulips, it is a tiny clump of wild garlic that is making me smile most in my garden at the moment. Not exactly side of the road but wild in amongst the carefully purchased plants surrounding it!

  2. My parents grew fritillaria in a previous garden, and one of our girls was trying to tell me how much she liked one of Grandma's flowers - 'You know,' she said, 'the ones that look like dolls' hairdryers'. Naturally, that's how they always been known since then.

  3. It looks just great next to that blue tubing.

  4. One of my favourite flowers, and a source of pride in my garden! I had read that they were difficult to grow from bulbs, so I grow them indoors in a small pot and after flowering plant them out 'in the green', like snowdrops. I've built up quite a little colony!

  5. Fabric like that would be amazing! Come on Mrs Butler let nature talk to you or you husband for that matter! Have you heard that he has released a "Man" fabric range? I miss London ;)


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