Against all odds, fritillaries can still carpet a field where every flower sways open in the breeze not unlike a Moroccan lantern. Yes, such fields are rare, but there is a history attached to them which reaches back into the mists of time. In late spring, the old market at Covent Garden would find itself overflowing with the burgundy-pink chequered blooms of snakeshead fritillaries. Bunches picked from the water meadows adjoining the River Thames were taken to the market by local children to be sold for a ‘pretty penny or two’. Sadly, modern agricultural practices, particularly that of draining land and applying weed killers to produce crops for us all to eat, have decimated those carpets of wild fritillaries, leading to a sharp decline across the country. As a requiem for this delicate, late-spring beauty, which Rachel tellingly describes as ‘so exotic you can hardly believe it belongs in our country’.