Thoughts of spring blooms lift the gloom

I have yet to meet anyone who has a bad word to say about primroses, those elegant and colourful little flowers that transform woodland edges and shady banks as well as making wonderful houseplants.

MELLOW YELLOW: The delightful primrose loves the great outdoors but also makes a wonderful houseplant.

Mostly, they bloom in spring, but in the perfect place and given the perfect conditions, primroses, notably the most common form, Primula vulgaris, can still be throwing out pale-yellow flowers in early summer.

This evergreen British native spreads by seeds that are often dispersed by ants, and it can still be found across Britain but it seems, sadly, to becoming rarer.

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But the apparent decline of the wild variety hasn’t deterred many people from growing other varieties in their own gardens where many a cool and semi-shaded spot can provide the ideal home for one of Britain’s most treasured flowers.

They need moist, well-drained, friable soil – most gardeners will lose plants because of drought, so it is important to add plenty of organic matter and leaf litter when planting and to mulch yearly.

Nursery-produced plants are often grown under cover in peaty compost so they are more difficult to grow in the garden. If you do plant them out, keep them watered during their first growing season.