You know for sure when spring is on the way when the wild primroses start to flower. It may be cold, it may be raining a lot, but it is a wonderful sight and I know some warm weather cannot be far away. The main photo is the wild primrose (Primula vulgaris). It is a hardy plant, growing widely across the UK and will always start flowering as early as February, especially here in Cornwall. I let them grow in my garden as they are such beauties. This one is quite pale, with many wild plants flowering in a stronger shade of yellow. Sometimes they flower in pink. There are lots of colourful cultivated forms available in garden centres.
It got me thinking what reliable and versatile plants Primroses can be. These early flowers are followed by other species that flower well into the middle of summer. Many are worth growing from seed.
Cowslips (Primula veris) follow shortly after from March to May, with bright yellow flowers on taller stems. Also a wild plant, they look good in borders and even gravel gardens.
Vial’s Primrose (Primula vialii ‘Miracle’), a cultivated form of Primose, has unusual and appealing bi-coloured flowers in June and July.
And the Candelabra Primroses (Primula x bulleesiana), which are cultivated hybrid plants, sit tall, with whorls of very colourful flowers, also in June and July.
Primroses are good plants for the UK as they like damper soils and can cope with part shade. On this rainy and cloudy day, they somehow feel perfect for our sometimes soggy islands!