Skip to main content

Wild Primroses in the Garden

Wild Primroses in the garden.

There are many jobs for the kitchen garden over April (such as digging potato trenches, raking the soil, planting seeds, potting up and spreading compost) but something pleasant to start with might be a little armchair enjoyment in a primrose plant that grows by itself.

Fortunately, for a kitchen garden, the leaves and flowers of this native wildflower, primula vulgaris, are edible which makes it a perfect addition to the vegetable patch as it can be used in the kitchen - as decorative flowers and leaves that can be enjoyed along with the salads!

This popular woodland flower can be introduced to the garden if there are none already growing there. It might even form the start of an interest in native flowers; observing and recording plants and flowers growing in the garden.

It was this yellow wildflower that captivated the curiosity and wonder of the famous local naturalist based in Kent, Charles Darwin.  It has featured in poems and art for centuries; from watercolour paintings by master artists from the past to more recent wildflower paintings, such as a watercolour and ink illustration of wild flowers (including primroses and a honey bee) that I painted last year. Another botanical drawing last year was this more realistic coloured pencil drawing of primroses, with honey bee added this year, since bees as so fond of primroses and it would be such a shame to leave them out of a painting!

These native wild flowers, often called common primrose or English primrose, are found in many countries around the world.

Wild primroses can grow the broad spectrum of yellow flowers, but it was the ‘brimstone’ yellows that were enjoyed by John Clare in his countryside poem, ‘Primroses’:


I love the rath primroses pale brimstone primroses

That bloom in the thick wood and i' the green closes

I love the primroses whenever they come

Where the blue fly sits pensive & humble bees hum

The pale brimstone primroses come at the spring

Swept over and fann'd by the wild thrushes wing

Bow'd down to the leaf cover'd ground by the bees

Who sing their spring ballads thro bushes & trees


Yellow brimstone butterflies arrive back in the garden at around the same time of year, when the sun starts shining, and a garden with splashes of yellow from the daffodils, tulips, forsythia, white blossoms and various other white to yellow blooms - along with the primroses - can evoke all sorts of imaginings that can be found in fairy tales and art.
Cicely Mary Barker, another local artist writer, famed for her 'Flower Fairies' was creatively inspired by the wild primroses, and wrote 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. 

The honey bees love these pretty spring flowers, too!

Wild primroses in the garden to attract more bees
Wild primroses in the garden to attract more bees
Winter-hardy perennial primroses can be grown for a garden filled with pretty yellow flowers that will naturally return each year between February and May, depending on the weather.

A splash of wild primroses amongst damp, moss-covered rocks and gnarled tree roots, or holding together some decomposing logs, bear the early signs of spring and, even on a grey day, a cheerful greeting can be enjoyed from an otherwise fairly dull, dark patch of turf in the garden! And if it's really too dull to go out side, then it's a perfect specimen for a wild flower painting or some nature-writing.

More garden tasks for April coming soon...

Garden blog about setting up a new vegetable garden within a natural wildlife garden, in Kent.

Popular Posts from this Blog

British Wildlife Watercolours

British Wildlife Watercolours.
British wildlife, birds and flowers are carefully painted using watercolours, based on the wildlife and botanical subjects from the garden and local woods.
Wildlife such as small British woodland animals (badgers, foxes, squirrels, mice, bats, deer, otters, wild cats, stoats, weasels - even wild boar, pine martens, beavers and, one day, lynx may return to the wilds of Britain!) and UK garden birds, butterflies and bees, along with ladybirds and dragonflies, add to the joys to be found in the garden, or just beyond, all year round.

Watercolours can be used to capture the beauty in the animal or plant subject using the fluidity of the paints.

Everyone's favourite! A beautiful owl resting amongst the bluebells.

Watercolours can be used in a variety of wildlife paintings for different effects based on creative preferences. For the traditional, realistic bird and wild animal paintings, dry applications of paint are built up slowly to create depth and form…

British Wildlife Coloured Pencils

Drawing wildlife using coloured pencils

Coloured pencil wildlife art paintings and drawings. 

Detailed wildlife and botanical drawings and paintings can be gained using coloured pencils which range from student grade to professional grade.

The following animal pencil paintings were achieved using a mixture of coloured pencil brands but mainly Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’ache Swisscolour.

Detail is captured as realistically as possible whilst retaining the creative style.

Realistic British wildlife art by wildlife and botanical coloured pencil artist.

Wildlife Drawing Classes

Wildlife Drawing Classes
Wildlife art classes in drawing wildlife.
There is more to be gained from drawing British wildlife than drawing and sketching alone – with wildlife art classes, there can be enjoyment in discovering about some of Britain’s favourite animals and birds in the company of other artists and nature enthusiasts, through drawing wildlife classes which bring together like-minded individuals in a pleasant setting.

Drawing animals and birds from life is an excellent way to engage with the natural world around us. An understanding of wildlife anatomy, behaviour and environment, through observations and sketches, can help build the skills and knowledge necessary for more detailed graphite or coloured pencil drawings of British wildlife and birds.

Drawing class subjects include the familiar favourites such as: foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, mice, deer and birds, plus some of the more elusive characters from the British countryside – badgers, otters, wildcats, newts, hawks and…