Probably one of our most favourite spring flowers, it’s a true joy to see them so upright with their beautiful delicate dangling trumpet shaped flowers.
Favoured by many insects as an early nectar source; Particularly the long-tongued hairy footed flower bee, garden bumble bees and the endangered Duke of Burgundy butterfly.
Sadly, this native ancient meadow flower, a cousin of our primrose, has become a rarity, mainly due to how we farm but you can make a difference. Greenhavens members have been planting them in Newhaven and Lewes cemetery over the past few years and they are successfully coming back year on year.
Why not have a go and plant some in your garden or verge, they also do well in pots too.
Shakespeare loved cowslips, writing about them in Midsummer night’s dream (below), The Tempest and Henry V. He made us believe that fairies would seek refuge inside the flower heads when there was danger.
A Midnights Summer Dream, Act II, Scene I
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dew drops here
And hand a pearl in every Cowslips ear.