© Joan Currie. My newly completed Lichen Auriculus needlepoint designed by Kaffe Fassett

Welcome pale primrose, starting up between,
Dead matted leaves of oak and ash, that strew
The every lawn, the wood, and spinney through
‘Mid creeping moss and ivy’s darker green,
How much thy presence beautifies the ground!
How sweet thy modest, unaffected pride
Glows on the sunny bank, and wood’s warm side!
And where thy fairy flowers in groups are found
The schoolboy roams enchantedly along,
Plucking the fairest with a rude delight,
While the meek shepherd stops his simple song,
To gaze a moment on the pleasing sight,
O’erjoyed to see the flowers that truly bring
The welcome news of sweet returning Spring.

From the sonnet To a Primrose by John Clare

The Primula auricula, common name Primrose, is one of my favorite flowers! When I was a child, my mother would take me to tea parties at her friend Dorothy’s house. Dorothy had a reputation as the local green thumb and garden queen. I loved going there because this lady had a magnificently fecund display of primrose plants. They were housed in a jumble of assorted clay pots sitting on exquisite porcelain saucers lined up along the sill of a huge picture window. The plants’ petals were enormous and each plant boasted a unique two-toned color combination. My favorite colors were: magenta, fuchsia, violet, and sap green. The centers of the petals were a very deep yellow. Those wonderful colors have remained in my memory and although I have never been able to grow primroses with the same success as Dorothy, I take time to admire them whenever I get the chance!

Bloemenstudie by Maria Margaretha van Os at the Rijksmuseum