The evening primrose is of course a late summer flower... but here we have Clare speaking of the first signs of Spring, and the primrose that I can see from my study across the garden, with its Devon banks and warm corners:

Where slanting banks are always with the sun
The daisy is in blossom even now;
And where warm patches by the hedges run
The cottager when coming home from plough
Brings home a cowslip root in flower to set.
Thus ere the Christmas goes the spring is met
Setting up little tents about the fields
In sheltered spots — Primroses when they get
Behind the wood's old roots, where ivy shields
Their crimpled, curdled leaves, will shine and hide.
Cart ruts and horses' footings scarcely yield
A slur for boys, just crizzled and that's all.
Frost shoots his needles by the small dyke side,
And snow in scarce a feather's seen to fall.

After posting this lovely poem, I came across Ronald Blythe's words in his weekly country diary "Word from Wormingford" for 21st January:

"Gulls, scores of them, take greedy flight over a bit of ploughing. Clumps of snowdrops reveal their presence in my woodland, white-tipped needles in the leaf mulch. And then that midwinter yet, at the same time, near-spring rustle of blackbirds kicking around in dry leaves, and the jewel-like glimpse of their shining eyes beneath the shrubs"

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