Country diary: enchanted by the softness and subtlety of primroses

Country diary: enchanted by the softness and subtlety of primroses

Deep Dale, Derbyshire: I want to capture their matt butter petals, the inner star of saffron and sun-soaked crinkly leaves

The primrose bank was more beautiful to me than any formal garden precisely because it was so unscripted. The plants spread randomly among a multitude of other species, exactly in the manner of flower-rich grassland.

Here in this glorious Plantlife-owned reserve were some of the primrose’s stock neighbours: bluebells, field woodrush, dog violets and spikes of slick green lords-and-ladies. Yet none of them seemed to match the softness and subtlety of the primroses: the matt butter of their waxy petals with that inner star of saffron on every corolla, which is precisely the colour of a male redstart’s mouth when it sings.

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