Cowslips: once common, now a lovely surprise!

I don’t know why but I’ve never noticed these cowslips at the side of the road before. Maybe they weren’t there before?

Cowslips by the road

Lying on my stomach taking this picture, as the traffic raced around the Dorchester by-pass in Dorset, I wondered why there wasn’t a crowd of people getting out of their cars and marvelling at these cowslips. I got a few hoots from lorry drivers but that was about it.

OK, so maybe it’s just me that hasn’t seen them growing like this before. I’ve heard about them… in the good old days growing everywhere –  but I’d never actually seen them (and there was me thinking I was getting old!).

Well this year I did and cars or no cars, I was determined to let their gorgeous bright yellow flowers ooze right through me.


They are certainly a great way to brighten up a dull and overcast day.

11 thoughts on “Cowslips: once common, now a lovely surprise!

  1. Wow, Jane.

    There’s a wonderful bank of white violets near me, and I stood and looked at them for ages. Tried to take some photos, but either the scale or the detail was lost. You manage to get both.

  2. Heh heh!
    I got bollocked by Anna for telling her that Cowslips were rare these days and now a nice surprise, when we came across a few in a local Berkshire nature reserve.
    Then we drove to the Cotswolds along the A417 and A419 (Swindon – Gloucester) and there were half-mile banks of the yellow bleeders all down that very long road!
    I’ve certainly never noticed that before, but that (personally anyway) has probably something more to do with the fact that I’ve never really noticed ANY flowers apart from Bluebells, being an anmial-man (or zoologist if you want me to be precious about it), rather than a botanist.
    I’m only really starting to properly notice plants and flowers now…
    Lovely pictures (as always!) Jane…

  3. Hi Kate. Funny you should say that. I’ve seen lots of violets this year. Not white ones though mine were purple… guess yours must be sweet violets (perennial herb of woods and hedgerows). I got very “up close and personal” with the cowslips… I’ve found it’s the only way I can get a half decent photo. Stand too far back and wild flowers just seem to merge into the background. It’s the same with bluebells. Jane

  4. Doug. I thought they were rare as well… glad I’m not the only one under that misconception. Or is it just that without all the pesticides these flowers are making a comeback? I’m sure that I’ve not seen them in such numbers before. The same with wood anemone and sweet and common violets. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention to “mere” wild flowers before…. and this I’ve actually got my eyes open! Jane

  5. Just last Tuesday I saw my first ever cowslips in our local “big” town. I was walking (by mistake, but that’s another story!) along a sort of ring-road and past the tourist information place. Part of the grass outside had been cut, but the rest was long and un-manicured. In the uncut grass were cowslips! No, I’ve no photos I’m afraid.

  6. Hi Sara. Lots of people seem to have seen them this year. Maybe it’s a good year for them or maybe we are seeing a return of our native flowers? Lets hope so. Jane

  7. Dragonstar. What on earth were you doing on a ring-road??? I’m curious now! Glad you saw some, they have been very pretty this year. Jane

  8. I am sure I am not mistaken in thinking I saw a whole host of cowslips going over Christchurch Road towards Parley, just outside the Golf Club.

  9. Cowslips in the new world – There is a small and specific spot on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario Canada where is a great abundance of cowslips (also a lot of sweet violets where there are lawns. I have assumed that this was just a coincidence of flowers borught by the Scottish settlers to the area (very late 19th centuty) and the relatively moist, dolomitic limestone environment, but probably not unique. However, my husband told me recently hta the met a plant botanist who has been making a study of these particular cowslips. Apparently this is one of the most abundant collecitons of cowslips anywhere! Another unique feature of htis very unique place, Hopeness, which is fortunately mostly protected by Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment Plan. If anyone’s curious I can provide photos. And, yes, they are more abundant where cattle grazed in the past but not currently.

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