Spring flowers – pretty faces

Spring is such a vital time of year! Outside in the Northern Lakes is the only place to be when everything is changing on an hour to hour basis. In the morning the hawthorn buds are brown and round; by afternoon they are a burst of green, turning the twiggy hedgerow to a ribbon of viridian. And the flowers of course, popping up in profusion as the sunlight filters through bare branches just starting to unfold their leaves. Primroses on mossy banks;a swathe of them come up every year beside the car-park barrier gates at Whinlatter. Look carefully into their creamy eyes, the mirror of the soul in humans, but in this case the seat of their sex. They are hermaphrodite but have a gender preference, ‘thrumb’ or ‘pin’. If you can see the fluffy tips of male, pollen filled anthers winking at you they are a ‘thrumb’ flower, if the rounded sticky tip of the female stigma is boldly staring back instead, they are a ‘pin’ flower. A visiting bumble bee is all that is needed to complete the union.

Primula vulgaris