Primroses and fairies …

Primroses and fairies.

You may say I’m away with them but I heard on the radio earlier that primroses were considered in folklore to be a gateway to fairies, as primroses open enchanted doorways. I’ve never really thought of primroses as more than pretty little spring flowers, overwhelming in their number but underwhelming in their pallor, but found myself on my dog walk irrationally wanting to check underneath them for evidence. Of course, I found none.

So, I thought I’d find out more about the humble primrose, so prolific at the moment, lining roads and lanes, decorating woodlands, prettifying churchyards and jewelling hedgerows – because we are all socially distancing, so suddenly things like this become important. Maybe they should have been more important before, to be honest.

The primrose is the sacred flower of Freya, the Norse goddess of love and marriage, apparently, but then I know little of Norse goddesses.

The very word “Primrose” is from Old French “primerose” or Medieval Latin “prima rosa”, meaning first rose. The five petals of the flower are said to represent birth, initiation, consummation, repose and death.

Delicate (yet hardy) they are the quintessential flowers of spring, usually following the winter snowdrops but preceding the crocuses and daffodils.

The fairy stuff involves eating petals (I am not advocating this) or putting a pile of them on a rock – some of you may know more about this than I do.

More usefully, the radio programme suggested they have a glorious scent so most of all, one should sniff them. So, if anyone sees me on the floor with some primroses, you know why … but at least it makes a change from the C-word.

There are some other fascinating bits of lore here.

Loads of primroses at St Michael’s


I keep promising myself I will learn more about nature so if anyone wants to help and tell me anything about what they know, be it birds, flowers or whatever, please respond! I’m all for learning, especially while feeling a bit cut off from life, as we all are.


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