Off on my ritual Sunday trip to the garden centre, to enquire about my long-wintering orange trumpet vines, I came across this beautiful, mesmerising flowering plant; the snake-head fritillary.
It literally took my breath away! I stopped dead in my tracks, but quickly snatched up the pot in the most undignified, greedy, grasping manner. My precious... I can't remember ever having seen one of these before, though I did know Charles Rene Mackintosh's watercolour.
These are also known as 'chequered lilies', for obvious reasons, and the snake's head reference is due to markings that resemble those of a serpent.
I initially thought it referred to the 'poise' of the flower head which seems so expressive and appears so appropriate for art nouveau representation.
This plant usually grows in meadow land with the associated damp conditions. Whilst the label description did insist that the fritillary can adapt 'well' to life on a balcony, I am under no illusions.