Good Friday to me means wild daffodils and bunches of primroses.

As children in the village where I grew up, every year, on Good Friday, we were taken into the surrounding fields and woods by a lady, Mrs Goode (bizarrely). None of us knew her, apart from this annual ritual. She lived in a wooden shack in the woods, and the Good Friday outing was to pick flowers to decorate the village church for Easter Sunday.

The memories are always sunny and fun, involve splashing in streams and having picnics in the woods and returning with baskets of flowers. In those days (late 50’s/early 60’s), picking bunches of wild flowers was what country children did, without any anxieties about conservation or biodiversity. I even used to pick primroses in my grandmother’s woods to sell at market, and she used to make gallons of cowslip wine.

The wild daffs grew in the woods and field margins, often lying on the surface of the soil after the farmer had ploughed the field in preparation for growing crops. Some of these discarded bulbs now grow here in my garden at Nant-y-Bedd.

Wild daffs and bench by the river

Wild daffs and bench by the river

The best place to pick primroses was in the orchard on the bank below the reservoir. My sister now grazes these orchards with her flock of sheep. The primroses still grow there in profusion so I don’t think that the village children picking them once a year did any longterm harm.

Both wild daffs and native primroses feature largely in our garden here. We have planted hundreds over the years, and we’ll shortly be planting out a hundred or so cowslip plants, grown from seed given to me by a local gardening friend (thank you John). So perhaps, subconsciously, I am paying back and giving thanks for my childhood memories.

Primroses in the wood

Primroses in the wood