Thursday, 25 March 2010

Thursdays favourite plant

What could you want prettier than the humble harbinger of spring....

Primula vulgaris

There are so many different species of primroses, the native vulgaris is my favourite although Cowslips (primula veris) are very dear to my heart and I love the drumstick primrose (primula denticulata) and the gorgeous primula vialii

I adore these simple little flowers of sunshine, the way the appear amongst tree roots and popping out of hedges promising spring, blue skies and sunshine. One of the first flowers I could identify as a little'un, they remind me of walks in the woods with my mum telling me stories of fairies and elf's. I used to lie down on the ground in the leaves and rub my cheeks against the petals. They still seem magical to me after all these years.

Funnily enough there is so much folklore attached to primroses concerning fairies, My favourite is the Celtic and Germanic stories about finding a fairy hill or a fairy rock and touching it with a posy of primroses, it would open a door to the fairies kingdom. A posy left on the doorstep would invoke the blessings of the fairies upon the house, petals scattered on the doorstep will prevent fairies from crossing the fresh hold. Hanging posies in cowsheds will prevent fairies stealing the milk. This is a good one I found, if you see a single primrose and dance round it 3 times clockwise it will ensure your hens lay well.

If you want to have your own magical carpet of faerie loving sunshine, you can propagate them very easily from root cutting (Hmm I should do some propagating how tos) or you can grow them from seed, either sow seed collected when its fresh or if you buy seed it will need a period of chilling to germinate. You can buy the plants but make sure you get ones marked vulgaris otherwise it could be any old bedding polyanthus.

I'll leave you with this by Cicely M. Barker

The song of the primrose fairy

The primrose opens wide in spring;
Her scent is sweet and good:
It smells of every happy thing
In sunny lane and wood.
I have not half the skill to sing
And praise her as I should.

She's dear to folk throughout the land;
In her nothing mean:
She freely spreads on every hand
Her petals pale and clean.
And though she's neither proud or grand,
She is the Country Queen.

jess x

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