April – Plant of the Month – Primrose

Included in many of Joel’s garden designs, he highly recommends this ancient woodland plant for providing early nectar sources, particularly for the Brimstone butterfly and Dark-edged Bee-fly, as seen in the photos here.
Primroses are the first to bloom in woodland areas, their vernacular derives from a late latin form, prima rosa, consisting of prima, “first” and rosa, “rose”.  In appropriate conditions, P. vulgaris can cover the ground in open woods and shaded hedgerows and in natural settings can be found by streams, under bushes, in orchards and clear, moist deciduous forests.

The flowers of the species are visited by a variety of insects, and are adored by butterflies, beetles and flies. Good pollinators are said to be bumblebees and hairy flies of the genus Bombylius. However, the most common visitors to the flowers are small beetles of the genus Meligethes (commonly known as the pollen beetle) – it is not rare to see up to 12 or more pollen-covered individuals in a single flower, flying from flower to flower they are well suited as pollinators.  Ants will also take the seeds, rich in oils to feed their larvae in the nest.

Unfortunately, due to excessive removal and picking of primroses from the wild in the past they are usually now only seen in abundance on motorway verges and on railway embankments, where it has proven difficult for humans to take them.  However, due to this excessive removal previously, it is now illegal to pick or remove primrose plants from the wild and is enforced under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to prevent excessive damage to the species.

April 19th is known as Primrose Day due to the death of Benjamin Disraeli, the Primrose being his favourite flower, they have been laid by his statue on this date every year at Westminster Abbey to acknowledge his love for this flower.
We hope this has convinced you to plant some of these very beneficial early emerging flowers in your own garden to provide a nectar source for insects in need in early Spring.

Order yours now from our online shop for some springtime joy!

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