Wednesday, 7 August 2013


I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear. 
William Shakespeare

When I was a child I lived in a village and my mother took us for walks into the countryside. We discovered a field on a hill, dense with cowslips. I loved the smell of them and we picked bunches to bring home. Local people filled bags with the flowers for making cowslip wine. In the Winter we would return there to slide down the snowy slope.
Cowslip flowers or leaves are used in cooking to flavour vinegars or syrups, as tisanes, in salads or crystallised to decorate cakes. I have never tasted them, that will have to wait till next year, meantime I will scour the internet for recipes.
Have you ever tasted them or know of any recipes?

I have cowslips growing in a small area of long grass. Primula veris is the species name, veris meaning 'of spring'. I had one plant in the grass that has seeded. This area is not cut until the seed pods have turned brown. Some of the seeds will self sow and I remove some and scatter the seed further a field into the grass. So the meadow patch is growing. Some have hybridised with the primroses in the garden and have larger flowers, some even pink.

Growing cowslips

Plant late Summer/Autumn. If planted when ripe and soon after gathering they take 4-6 weeks to germinate. If left unplanted the seeds become dormant and need a cold period to break their dormancy so wouldn't germinate till Spring.

Either sprinkle them directly on the ground or into grass or plant in a container. Don't cover the seed as they also need some light to germinate. You could use either John Innes seed and potting compost  or a multi purpose soil free one.Water from the bottom and don't let it dry out. Use a container at least 4in deep helps against drying out. Some people put a layer of damp sphagnum moss on the top of the compost and sow the seed onto that. when the seeds sprout put a thin layer of compost over them to grow through.

1 comment:

mythreebeez said...

very interesting blog!
love cowslips,we have them too!
Jeanie x