Fairy Favours

The dancing Cowslips come in pleasant hours; 
Though seldom sung, they’re everybody’s flower

John Clare

Fairy favours Shakespeare called them, but the old country names of cowsups, cowpats and cooslops reference the old folks’ observation that they flowered most abundantly where a cow had ‘slupped’ – cow pats to you and me. Very sadly more cows are being kept indoors for longer, or even all year round. Cows belong on grass, whether in meadows, scrub or woodland. Choose organic and grass fed to ensure that your daily dairy is cowslip friendly!

Spring ephemerals, cowslips in woodland areas will always flower before the tender new leaves unfurl on the trees overhead. Here, a pale lemon yellow carpet of cowslips spreads across the forest floor of Sheepdrove’s Natural Burial Wood.  This broad leaf deciduous woodland is sheltered by mature hedgerows of hawthorn, blackthorn and briar rose and a tapestry of native wildflowers – cowslips such as these but also wild orchids, oxeye daisies, red campion, lady’s bedstraw and devil’s bit scabious – flourish under the trees, providing sustenance and shelter for bees and other pollinators throughout spring and summer. It is a beautiful place to spend eternity.

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