Native Region: Europe
Zone Range: 4-8
Preferred Climate: Dappled shade; well draining evenly moist humus rich soil.
Harvest Date: Sunday 12 December, 2010
Seed count: 10-12
Aptly named 'Checkered' for the ivory and purple square pattern of its petals yet its broad shouldered blooms taper to also resemble a snake's head. From thin grey-green stems large single to multiple blooms dangle and from a distance appear to be suspended 20 cm above the ground. Blooms appear mid April and moist shady sites extend bloom life. Flowers are very fleeting in sites with dryish soil or with semi direct sun. There's the occasional white bloom with faint checkered pattern. White and purple forms look great together.
Deer proof, but squirrels seem to love the edible bulbs so protect them with some large mesh hardware cloth laid atop the ground when you seat your bulbs (10cm deep). Easy to grow. Will gradually spread if they love you.
Seed collected from white and purple/ivory forms. Soak seed 24 hours. Barely cover seed; press into medium Top dress with a little grit or sand to prevent the thin wing like seeds from flying way or dislodged by rain. Keep moist and cool. Germination may be erratic if sown from dry stored seed (think 18 months or more) but if kept in moist peat, it will germinate in the fridge by March...then they're all mine! Seedlings look like single blades of grass so don't be tempted to weed the pot until you know what you are really looking at!