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Best of the bunch - Primrose

Widely available in garden centres at this time of year in a mass of colours ranging from white to deep purple, primroses add a wealth of colour to spring containers and at the front of borders.

They're from the Primula genus, which comprises about 400 types, some evergreen, enjoying sun or partial shade in deep, moist but well- drained soil, rich in organic matter.

Good varieties include Primula 'Wanda', which produces claret flowers above clumps of toothy leaves, and P. vulgaris 'Double Sulphur', a vigorous evergreen perennial with funnel-shaped double pale yellow flowers.

There are other taller types including Primula denticulata, a herbaceous perennial which grows to around 45cm (18in) and produces lollypop rosettes of flowers in shades from white to lilac.

Good enough to eat - Chervil

This under-rated herb with fern-like foliage is perfect with fish, or chopped up and put into mixed leaf salads, adding a subtle flavour between parsley and aniseed.

Some people add it to butter pats to melt over new potatoes and other veg. It's easy to grow, sowing from March to late June in rows where you want the plants to

crop, as the seedlings don't transfer well.

If you grow them in individual pots, sow them into the pots they're going to stay in and then thin them out as the seedlings emerge. If you buy small plants to grow on, plant them straight away without breaking up the rootball.

Chervil likes rich, moisture-retentive soil and shade or dappled sun. Ideally sow it in spring and again in late August, because if you sow it in summer, it may run to seed. Keep the plants watered in dry spells and weed regularly. If you protect plants from the frost, they will keep going well into the winter and may produce

Photos: PA Photo/Paul Debois/ Which?. Life Begins 21

1. Garnish fruit salads with rose petals, or simply scatter them on tables.


2. Sprinkle the nutty-flavoured flowers of polyanthus over salads.

3. Use the pretty petals of chive flowers,

which have a mild onion flavour, to add to salads. Leave the heads whole if you just want to decorate a dish.

ways to...

Make the most of edible flowers

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