Spring flowers - primrose and rosemary

Posted: Thursday 20 March 2008
by Jekka McVicar

Easter always reminds me of my childhood ... we used to pick bunches of primroses (Primula vulgaris), tie them up with coloured wool, place them in baskets and decorate the church.

Easter always reminds me of my childhood. I attended a village school in Somerset and we used to pick bunches of primroses (Primula vulgaris), tie them up with coloured wool, place them in baskets and decorate the church.

It is sad to think that in my lifetime so many of our native wildflowers and herbs have become endangered. They are now protected; it is illegal to pick or dig up any wild plant. However, it is heartening that with the increase in more sympathetic farming practices and the demand for organic produce, native wildflowers and herbs are returning to our hedgerows.

The primrose is a herb. In the middle ages it was used as a medicinal herb - concoctions were made from the plants to treat gout and rheumatism. Today it is occasionally used as a mild sedative, being considered a remedy for anxiety and insomnia. The flowers of cultivated forms of primrose can be used in salads. For the more adventurous primrose growers, the young leaves make an interesting vegetable if steamed, then tossed in butter.

Rosemary flowers - Rosmarinus officinalisAnother herb I associate with Easter is rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). My rosemary plants are starting to flower, which is lovely as the flowers provides early nectar for the bees. The downside is that these plants won't make the flower shows.

My grandmother and mother were both wonderful cooks. Part of the Easter tradition was to have roast lamb with slithers of garlic and rosemary pushed under the skin, roasted slowly in the oven with loads of vegetables. The aroma of this traditional feast is still a pungent memory. Rosemary is a very versatile herb when used in cooking; it works well with lamb, casseroles, tomato sauces, roast vegetables, egg dishes, apples, summer wine cups and oils. It also aids digestion of fatty foods and is an antioxidant.

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Gardeners' World Web User 31/03/2008 at 19:32

It is sad to think of the dwindling numbers of wildflowers across the UK. Bees need an increasing variety of wildflowers to provide them with pollen - some of them are out as early as January and need as much help as they can get. We can all help by growing primroses and rosemary for early spring flowers, as well as sow seeds of annual native blooms to provide them with nectar in the summer. Lovely blog Jekka, thanks

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2009 at 21:48

I am looking for a primrose called Emily we did see one in Peter Barretts but have not found one since where can I buy one

Gardeners' World Web User 28/02/2009 at 19:12

Olwen, I have just, today, bought some primrose emily plants! I got them from the DIY store Focus. They were £1.45 each or five for £5. They are lovely. I've put them with my snowdrops and crocus. I also bought some flowering Lenten roses (orientalis). £2.99 each or two for £5. Also, very nice. Hope you find the Emilys!

Gardeners' World Web User 21/08/2009 at 18:59

Thank you for the reply I will look out for them for this season

Gardeners' World Web User 11/07/2010 at 23:17

also help you to recover better from exercise… and that means you can build more muscle and burn more body fat in the long term!

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