Primoses and cowslips grow in the wild and if they appear in your garden they tend to take up residence and reappear year after year. These low growing pale yellow flowers complement the taller daffodils which are in bloom at the same time. The cultivated forms of primroses are the primulas of which there are several different types as Paul Andruss explains in this article which I found on his Smorgasbord Blog.
Primroses and Cowslips are fashionable once more as gardeners are being encouraged to have wild flowers as food for insects in the garden. In folklore they are associated with the fairies as they were believed to grow along fairy paths. They are thought to be flower associated with the Welsh Celtic heroine Olwen of the White Track.
They are extraordinarily eye catching and cheap, so you can get hit of early spring colour. In fact that is the origin of the name: primula means ?first? flowering.
Although cousins, their main difference between primose and cowslip is the primrose bears many single flowers on individual stems while the cowslip has a rosette of flowers on one stem. You find the same difference in their cultivated cousins.
Hybrid Cowslips (Barnhaven)
The domestic polyanthus, or many flowered, comes in a full range of small to large flowers, single or multiple varieties (the ballerina) and in a complete rainbow of colours. Some are entirely one colour; others are edged with a second colour. Recent varieties can be flecked, frilled or even like a washed out demin.
There are some 500 species of primulas growing across Eurasia, with cousins in Indonesia, China, Japan, New Guinea and temperate South America. They are mountain plants. Half the known species come from the Himalayas, and often like shade damp and many species tolerate deep cold.
Drumstick primulas (Hilltop nursery)
From the Himalayas comes one of my favourites the tough as old boots Primula Denticulata or the drumstick primrose, comes in the purple, blue and white.
See more at Smorgasbord Blog
Feature photo: Richard Jacksons garden