A Gift, and Tuesday Snapshots

English primroses in a pot from  Northern Ireland

English primroses in a pot from Northern Ireland

This beautiful pot, full of primroses, came into our lives on Sunday afternoon.

December 31 flowers 002

Primula vulgaris grow best in a protected, partly shaded spot here in Virginia. They love moist soil, and our friend covered the soil around the plants in a sheet of living moss. I tucked some Oxalis bulbs under the moss, between the plants, yesterday. Burgundy shamrock leaves will begin to show in a few weeks, as the weather warms, to extend the season of this arrangement.

Brought by skilled and loving hands, it touches us deeply, as it is a gift from the heart.

The pot has a long history.  It came with our friends from their home in Northern Ireland many years ago.  They’ve had it all this time, waiting, and made a gift of it to us this Christmas.  It is a round terra cotta pot, wrapped in the deep, strong roots of an ancient ivy plant, and covered with moss.  It speaks to every romantic notion of the beautiful land of Northern Ireland.

The flowers are English primroses, a very popular plant in the British Isles.  Native to western Europe, Northwestern Africa, and Southwestern Asia, Primula vulgaris naturalize easily there; where the weather is mild and moist.  Primroses are one of the earliest flowering perennials each spring.  Their jewel like colors welcome the new year. All parts are edible, including the flowers; and a few plants will spread to cover large areas, both by seed and through division.

December 31 flowers 005Our friends have been growing these primroses, from plugs, since autumn.  In Williamsburg, English primroses need protection from both frost and strong sun.  I’ve had them overwinter in the past, in a protected bed.  They won’t last long into late spring planted outside, but the roots often survive to sprout new leaves and flowers the following season.  The leaves will turn crispy if touched by frost, so they can’t stay out for a hard freeze this early in the season.

This pot of primroses now lives on our porch, near the door where we can easily pull it inside on frosty nights.  It greets us coming and going, bringing  us joy and a reminder of treasured friendship whenever we see it.

“The snowdrop and primrose our woodlands adorn,

  and violets bathe in the wet o’ the morn.”

Robert Burns

Tuesday Snapshots:  Deeply into a Virginia winter now, there is still plenty of color to enjoy in our Forest Garden.  All of these photos are from Christmas Day through New Year’s Eve.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

9 responses to “A Gift, and Tuesday Snapshots

  1. Pingback: Primrose | Find Me A Cure

  2. Pingback: Cowslip | Find Me A Cure

  3. Reblogged this on To Be Continued… Christine and commented:
    Such lovely photographs and artful prose….a gift in itself!

  4. and yes, the pot is just stunning; beautiful

  5. I got my first three primroses a couple of days ago as well. I love their cheerful smiling faces and some have rebloomed in spring over the the years. I have planted these near our doorstep, where the violas and pansies got taken for food by some friendly critters. I am hoping these survive, but after reading your post, will consider putting them into pots that can be brought inside if its going to be frosty night.

    • My dear friend, so sorry to hear that the hungry critters got your violas, as they have also gotten some of mine. Those happy blooming faces but a memory…. The primulas are also edible, and may be taken as a fresh offering by the deer people. Pots are definitely the smart way to go. Any room in the beautiful pots on your front porch?

  6. Oh wow, the primroses are still blooming! Mine have been gone for months once we had the first frost. We had rime frost a couple of weeks ago and got anything that was still blooming. Love the pot, so unique, coming from Ireland, that is special. 😉

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