Another harbinger of spring, appearing slightly before bluebells, is the pale yellow and beatiful primula vulgaris – the English primrose.

primroseIt’s a flower that spreads year on year, tumbling down banks and scattered through light woodland and across verges throughout the countryside.

The flower stems are thin and delicate, but surprisingly strong and picked flowers last for at least a week indoors. I love to gather a few for a small vase to cheer up the house.

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Just look at that delicate colouring with the brighter yellow in the centre and five frilled petals. It’s a cheerful little soul to brighten the heart on a late winter’s morning.

This flower is also known as the common primrose, which seems a bit harsh, but differentiates it from the coloured cultivated versions of primula. Although they too have a place in the garden, they lack the subtlety of the wild flower.

primrose 3

Here are a couple of the gaudier garden primroses, which look good in pots and in flower beds, but are totally out of place in the countryside.

They last well though and flower throughout much of the summer if looked after and regularly watered and fed.

Around the Sussex lanes, primroses abound in the spring and where they mingle with bluebells they make a beautiful show.