19 February 2020
We have enjoyed the white snowdrop and the yellow aconite. We have seen some blue scilla on the banks of the Kinnessburn. But yesterday, I saw the perennial reminder of my childhood wandering through the woodlands around Ardrishaig where I grew up, the common primrose.
They were seen unexpectedly on the high embankment above the East Sands at St. Andrews. Unlike the snowdrop, you don’t seem to see the first primrose. They grow in community, little families all neatly and beautifully dressed for Spring and the promise of new life in the risen Christ!
Apparently, it is Monty Don’s favourite flower. ‘No other plant so perfectly celebrates the coming of spring or does it with such gentle charm and beauty.’ he says. Although we have primula growing in the garden in several vivid colours, nothing compares with the watery, yellow of the naturally grown primrose.
Her humility is seen in her muted dress and in the places where she chooses to make her home – the inaccessible embankment, the hidden woodland, the edge of a far away field, damp and shaded. We may learn a great deal about Christian discipleship from such a modest but inspiring friend, celebrated beautifully by John Clare:
Welcome, pale primrose, starting up between
Dead matted leaves of ash and oak that strew
The every lawn, the wood and spinney through,
Mid creeping moss and ivy’s darker green;
How much thy presence beautifes the ground,
How sweet thy modest unaffected pride
Glows on the sunny bank and wood’s warm side.