Really, I should stop making these posts: whenever someone who gardens in a more favorable climate posts about what they have in bloom, it just makes me grumpy about my garden. But I hope everyone is taking it simply as a presage of what's coming for them. It's always disappointing to get bulbs which don't bloom; it's also very unusual for the most part. But I've experienced the same thing with the big frits: there are dealers who sell stock which is not vigorous enough to bloom. Curiously, price in no guide in this matter. I have yet to figure out how to grow Fritillaria imperialis here: almost without exception, newly purchased bulbs perform spectacularly the first year and then, again almost without exception, rot the first summer. But it's such a cool plant that every several years I buy in a few more. My supplier of choice for many years has been Scheepers: the bulbs I have had from them are clean and generally bloom, and the price is roughly half of what others ask. This year I'm growing them in big pots; they're blooming now. I'll start to dry them off in about two weeks or so. Fritillaria persica seems a bit more tolerant. But when I read that Jim Waddick has F. persica coming back and blooming sometimes, I really perked up: I've never been able to establish it here as a garden plant. It's not hard from seed, although a lot can and does happen in a small, crowded garden in the years which pass from seed sowing to flowering. I have yet to keep the seedling bulbs beyond the walnut size in the ground. I first had Fritillaria persica 'Adiyaman' from J.A.Mars of Haselmere back in the 1980s. I knew this plant back then only from its illustration in Parkinson's Paradisus and the account in Patrick Synge's Collins Guide to Bulbs. And when it bloomed, I thought I was the coolest guy on the block! Over the years I've noticed that commercial bulbs of Fritillaria imperialis have gotten smaller. The commercial standard now seems to be a 20 cm bulb, with some dealers offering 24 cm bulbs. Back in the good old days, my then favorite source sent out much bigger bulbs, bulbs the size of a small grapefruit. These bulbs came individually boxed. Recently I was Googling Fritillaria imperialis, and discovered something which may answer a long-standing question. There is a dealer who offers Fritillaria imperialis 'Rubra' , F. imperialis 'Rubra Maxima', F. imperialis 'Lutea' and F. imperialis 'Lutea Maxima'. The dealer uses the same image for the two rubra sorts and the same image for the two lutea sorts. The only difference I could see was the bulb size: the sorts listed as maxima had bigger bulbs. Now that raises a question: do those names refer to distinct cultivars, or are they simply grower/distributor codes to indicate bulb size? I suspect that these plants need high pH (or at any rate, higher than we experience here) and cooler soil temperatures while the ground is moist. Success north and west of here seem more common. However, I did have one plant of Fritillaria imperialis 'Aurora' settle down and thrive in the garden for a long time - maybe seventeen or more years. As I recall, it grew but did not bloom for about a decade. Then, when it began to bloom, it bloomed yearly. It was huge: four feet high with big individual flowers. And then one year it was no longer there. Jim McKenney Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the great stink lily generally deigns not to thrive.