snake’s head love

April 21, 2014  in flowers

Snake's Head Fritillary by Sania Pell

I have so many favourite flowers but one that comes up very high on my list is the snake’s head fritillary – Fritillaria meleagris. I have been fascinated by this spring bulb ever since I was at art college in Edinburgh and came across a beautiful drawing of one made in 1915 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The pattern fascinates me, as I’m sure it did Mackintosh, and they really are a miracle of nature.

Snake's Head Fritillary by Sania Pell

As a long-time member of Kew Gardens there are swathes of them located in an area that I hunt out each Spring to see them growing en masse. Some are pure white with the faintest trace of a pattern, but mostly they are the richer shades of purple with their contrasting chequerboard.

Snake's Head Fritillary in vase by Sania Pell

I photographed them against simple backdrops devoid of fuss. The vase above is by Akiko Hirai and the black cup in the last photo is by Kaori Tatebayashi, both from Flow Gallery. In the photo below you can see how these flowers get the name snake’s head from their shape and pattern just before they open up.

Snake's Head Fritillaries by Sania Pell

Snake's Head Fritillary by Sania Pell

I grow them each Spring in my own tiny garden and always get excited to see their little heads poke up in the flowers beds or in pride of place in pots on the garden table. Nature is amazing.


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  1. Katie B says:

    I adore Snakes Heads, I am waiting with baited breath for mine to start flowering, my soil is rather heavy clay so I wasn’t convinced they’d even show up after planting the bulbs, but they do appear to be preparing themselves! They are so delicate, and quite contemporary in their colours and ‘graphic’ pattern, it’s real love! 🙂

  2. geisslein says:

    dobar dan Sania, aaah – these are so beautiful, love them so much too!
    have a lovely wednesday! greetings from Germany, Tanja

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Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

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