Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire



Let’s hear it for the oxslips and cowslips…

Primula elatior

Primula elatior - the native oxslip - better than a polyanthus!

There’s been a bit of anti-spring-bedding sentiment welling up in the gardening blogosphere recently; Nigel Colborn was first, then Noel Kingsbury joined in, and most recently, the constant gardener has been extolling the virtues of the humble native primrose over it’s possibly slightly overblown cousins, bedding primroses and polyanthus.

And there’s nowt wrong with that – the bedding breeders have clearly been falling over themselves to produce plants with ever more gaudy colours and flower types, and the (presumed) original inspiration for them all, the altogether more subtle native primrose, seems to have fallen off the edge of many garden retailers shelves.

Not here of course! We haven’t stocked any sort of spring bedding for at least a decade, but the humble primrose has featured in our spring range forever.

But our sales benches also house its cousins, the native oxslips and cowslips, both of which seem to have slipped under the radar of the keep-it-real spring bedding campaigners.

So we’re here to redress the balance!  Primroses are gorgeous of course, but if you prefer your flowers with a bit more attitude, the oxslip is a primrose on a stick; cowslips are similar, but with a stronger sulphur yellow flower.   And they’re all thoroughly perennial, so will brighten your borders for years to come.

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