The cheerful primroses which are in the same family as cowslips graced woodland edges, hedgerow bottoms, roadside verges and embankments from March to April.
As their flowers fade tiny green seeds form in the fruiting capsules at the base of the plants.
Meanwhile its close relative, the cowslip, (Primuls veris) has arrived on nature’s stage since late April to display its sweetly scented flowers until June. These hang in clusters on strong stems. Cowslips favour more sunnier places than the shade-loving primroses and are found on sunny roadside embankments, parks and fields that are not overly fertilized. They were once very common in the Irish countryside but not so anymore. The name of the plant has its origin in an old English word for cow-dung-cow-slop. It was often found in fields where cows grazed.
It is illegal to dig up wildflowers that are growing in the wild, but their seed can be collected. Primrose seeds should be sown fresh for quick germination. Break open the seed capsule in June and press the green seed into the compost of a tray filled with John Innes seed compost. Cover with Perspex or glass and leave in a slightly shaded spot. Transplant to 7.5 cm pots of John Innes No.1 when they have four leaves.
When the seed cases are turning brown the stems begin to bend. The seeds are no longer green. These can be sown in a similar way, but they will not germinate until the spring.
Treat cowslip seed in a similar way to the primrose seed.