I have sympathised with Jessica at Rusty Duck and Pauline at Lead up the garden path when they have recounted their tales of fritillary-eating pheasants, but I knew pheasants were unlikely to visit our garden despite its semi-rural location. Our Fritillary meliagris have been emerging delightfully over the last few weeks, clearly happy and thinking about establishing themselves, and I was thrilled to find F. ulva vulpis also reappearing after going into hiding last year, adding to their number with three £1 bargain pots of them a week or so ago. As I planted the newbies, in a different part of the woodland edge border, I did notice that the leaves and stems of the original clump were broken or damaged and assumed neighbourhood cat carelessness – but this was clearly not the case when I inspected the new additions this morning! Neatly severed stumps of leaves and stems were all that remained of the three leafy clumps, apart from a single flower stem….
Not cats or pheasants, or Goldilocks or the three bears, but presumably slimy little molluscs – but if so, why have they singled out these isolated clumps of fritillaries when they have a whole garden of leafy spring growth to choose from (and the fritallaries’ harlequin flowered cousins, which are untouched although admittedly in the woodland and not this border). What is it about fritillaries that makes them so tasty? Are we missing out – or are they indeed edible by humans (must check that out)? In the meantime, grrrrrr!