“There is a plant that shall be mine, tis the little celandine”

I recall William Wordsworth as banks of these bright yellow stars mark the transition from Winter to Spring. Most people think that his favourite flowers were daffodils, but in actual fact, they were the celandines of which he wrote so fondly.

Lesser celandines are part of the buttercup family (ranunculus ficaria), and are renowned for being the ‘spring messenger’; a welcome arrival, that according to folklore “shines light into the night of the soul” or “are a sign of the joy to come”.    They are often the first woodland flower to appear.

Despite their delicate petals, they are the most robust of the spring flowers, arriving as they do when it is still cold enough for frosts.

Their creeping underground tubers run rampant around my garden giving a profusion of yellowness that spills-over onto the lawn. Even so, I cannot bring myself to weed them out, as they are very welcome guests and are not a particularly competitive weed given that their abundant foliage miraculously disappears by the end of May.

The 21st February is known as Lesser Celandine Day as this is when they first flower.  From this day forth you can see them on woodland floors, meadows and other damp hedgerows and banks until May.

I particularly love the way they accompany bluebells and primroses, and how they run wild along the banks of my favourite droves. But most of all, I love their ability to bring cheer, and this year especially, they have been bright and abundant in this warm sunny spring.