Inspiration and ideas from your own gardens
Focus on Fritillaria imperialis, Crown Imperial
Fritillaria imperialis, also known as Crown Imperial, are striking plants that have been in cultivated since the 16th Century. The splendid stately spikes of the Crown Imperial will grow to over 1.25m (4ft) and make excellent plants for large bedding schemes or for pockets in the border, creating a focal point.
Flowering from April onwards, they coincide with the lovely Daffodils and Tulips to create a gorgeous Spring border. They do have a reputation of being 'smelly'. You may notice a cannabis like smell up close but it is virtually undetected at arm's length. The odour can actually work in your favour. Rodents, squirrels and deer don't like them and are actually repelled by the smell.
So if you do have a wildlife problem try planting some Crown Imperial amongst your Tulips and maybe this will deter these pests from eating them.
However, the reason for growing Crown Imperials should be because of their striking colours and unique blooms. Fritillaria Garland Star is a fascinating flower of bright orange and a tuft of rich green foliage on the top. It can only add more interest to any Spring garden.
Plant the bulbs immediately upon arrival, as the bulbs dry out very easily, 15cm (6in) deep and 25cm (10in) apart in a sunny open position. The soil should be well drained, but if it is a little on the heavy side, try planting the bulbs on their side so that water is able to drain away from the hollow at the top of the bulb. Once they have bloomed let the foliage die naturally before cutting it off just above the ground and apply a dressing of sulphate of potash after flowering and again in the Autumn. This will encourage flowering in years to come. Once established they will increase readily by offsets from the mother bulb.
Enjoy your garden,