Last spring my flower garden was sad.  I planted a ton of daffodils, crocuses, tulips, and irises, but, thanks to squirrel depredations, I ended up with one mangled tulip of indefinite color (which was ripped apart by a squirrel the day after it bloomed).    The squirrels in my part of Brooklyn are angry hungry monsters.  Rap music and powerful Jamaican curries have desensitized them to noises and smells which would scare off lesser squirrels.  No one traps or shoots them–so they do not fear the fell hand of man.

Imp, Monster...Demon!

Imp, Monster…Demon!

This year I have been desperately trying to keep my bulbs alive long enough to bloom properly.  Every evening since mid-March you can see me out back throwing hot pepper and garlic powder on the garden like some maddened chef.    I have spritzed an ocean of animal repellent on the little green buds.  I have studded the garden with glittering mylar pinwheels and festooned it with scary helium balloons. Yet every day another bud is taken.  The crocuses were all ripped up.  In the end, I wonder if anything will actually blossom, or if it was all once again in vain.

I bet the Dutch don't put up with this sort of thing...

I bet the Dutch don’t put up with this sort of thing…

However there is one exception to this story of attrition and doom!  Yesterday the first flower bloomed in my back yard…and it was not at all what I was expecting.  Primulaceae, the primroses are native to Europe from Norway south to Portugal and from the Atlantic coast east all the way to Asia Minor.   Perhaps I should not be surprised that the primrose is first to bloom considering it lives wild in Norway, the land of polar bears, glaciers, and marauders.  Most garden primroses have been heavily hybridized, but last year I bought a specimen which looked most like the common European primrose, Primula vulgaris, and it survived a whole year to bloom again!  The flower has five beautiful butter yellow petals with center around a bright yellow eye.

Yellow Primrose

Yellow Primrose

I was hoping to provide some exciting primrose lore, but the humble flower does not seem to feature in many myths and legends.  According to Wikipedia, it was Benjamin Disraeli’s favorite flower, so crafty parliamentarians should at least be drawn to this article.    Anyway, spring is finally here so prepare for everything to get better.

Benjamin Disraeli in the garden?

Benjamin Disraeli?