My Top Ten Late June Floral Delights.

Swirling in at number one, doing the Jarabe tapatio; the Mexican Hat Dance, we have Tigridia pavonia.

Tigridia pavonia

The Tigridia comes from Mexico. From the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa we have another bulb, Albuca shawii. It has deliciously fragrant, little yellow lanterns smelling of almonds and it is easy from seed. Mine live in the cold greenhouse but I am going to try some in the gravel garden to test for hardiness outside.

Albuca shawii

Number three has to be a lily. I love lilies and so I persevere even though lily beetle is a terrible problem. I don’t use a bug killer because even though the one generally used for lily beetle no longer contains the neonicotinoid;  thiacloprid , it now contains deltamethrin  instead. I don’t imagine this is very good for bees and other pollinators or for me either. So I have to pick them off by hand and squash them with my fingers which is revolting. It is also unnerving, as on the odd occasion, they appear to scream, or squeak in alarm as you  attack them. It makes you feel an awful brute. But still, it is worth it if it means I get to enjoy the beautiful Asiatic lily ‘Night Flyer’ which is the deepest, darkest red.

Lilium ‘Night Flyer’

Number four is another dark-coloured  flower, or rather spathe. It is the weird -looking Arisaema costatum. It looks like a  striped cobra-head with a long sinister tail.

Arisaema costatum

Verbascums  get unsightly foliage as they are attacked by the Mullein Moth but it is worth persevering with the beautiful Verbascum x hybridum ‘Snow Maiden’. Mine is cream rather than the more usual snowy white.

Verbascum x hybridum ‘Snow maiden’

Another white flower which is really easy from seed is the whiter than  Persil -white, corncockle, Agrostemma githago ‘Milas Snow Queen’ . The corncockle is no longer found in cornfields as all parts of it are poisonous. But I am not going to eat it and if you can exercise similar restraint then this pretty flower comes highly recommended; it is easy from seed and the satiny flowers with their little pencil dots are delightful.

Agrostemma githago ‘Milas Snow Queen’

Another easy plant from seed is the short-lived perennial, Catananche caerula. It is sky- blue with dark centres and the flowers have lovely silvery bracts. I have read that you can dry it, so I might have a go. The common name is ‘Cupid’s Dart’ Why Cupid should have blue darts I don’t know.

Catananche caerula

Another plant grown from seed is the lovely dahlia which I feature every year as I love it so much. Its grandmother was ‘The Bishop of Llandaff’ and I tried to get darker and darker children by throwing away the wishy -washy, paler red offspring and keeping the dark ones. I am particularly pleased with this  one as it is very dark, (darker than it looks in the photo) and it has  darker stripes down the petals.

For number nine I have chosen the lovely  long spikes of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’. It blooms for ages, bees love it and I think it looks good echoing the spires of the Buddleia behind.

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’

And now we come to number ten and I was hard pushed to pick out a favourite.
Romneya coulteri  with its gleaming white flowers was a contender but they are disfigured by an attack of pollen beetle at the moment. I might have chosen the dainty ‘Dierama pendulum x pulcherimmum, Angel’s Fishing Rod, but it was so windy today, it wouldn’t stay in focus. So I am going for a foxglove. I love foxgloves and grow quite a few different ones. This one is Digitalis lanata. The flowers are rusty, veined inside and have a long white lip.

Digitalis lanata

It is silly trying to pick favourite flowers when there are so many beauties vying for attention, but still it’s fun and next month I shall do another Top Ten Blooms of the Month and perhaps you will join me and show me yours.

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Some Like It Hot.

And I do, I really love it, but for gardeners it means endless watering. It takes its toll on a girl.


Even though it is very hot, the Pianist is not being idle, as you can see, whilst Chloris wilts, he is on the mower. Mind you, as I keep telling him,  he is lucky really; it is a nice, restful, sitting-down job.

Before I can sit down there are a few midsummer  treasures to enjoy and share with you. The secret garden, which was last year’s project, is looking good now the roses and clematis have grown. Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ has been flowering for several weeks on the arches.

 

The rose in the front is ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ which is a repeat flowering rose and a gorgeous colour.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

The clematis have done really well and are covering the trellis.

Clematis ‘Madame Julia Correvon’

Clematis ‘Tie Dye’

Clematis viticella ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’ and Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

Clematis ‘Pagoda’

I have already mentioned my passion for roses and although some have finished they have passed the baton to  later flowering ones including these two lovely ramblers. ‘Francis E Lester’ is climbing up an old plum tree and ‘Blush Rambler’ is blushing as she is obliged to climb the frilly pink knicker cherry tree.

Rosa ‘Francis E. lester’

 

Rosa ‘Blush Rambler’

 

The next two are nameless as they were already here and looking very sickly and spindly. It is amazing what a bit of a prune and a good feed can do. The first one has the healthy, blueish leaves of Rosa alba. I think it could be Rosa alba ‘Celestial’ as it it has the most wonderful fragrance.

 

Round the garden there a lots of other flowers which are delighting me at the moment.  Here are a few. I love campanulas and this double one is gorgeous.

Campanula persicifolia ‘Pride of Exmouth’

I love santolinas  too and this is a nice compact one.

Santolina rosmarinifolia ‘Lemon Fizz’

Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ looks edible with Bupleurum rotundifolius ‘Bronze’.

Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ with Bupleurum rotundifolium ‘Bronze’

I love bronze flowers and behind this group I have the bronze foxglove, Digitalis parviflora.

Digitalis parviflora

And in pots there are some nice splashes of colour.  The coleus is a nice bronzey colour and looks good with the acer.

The dainty little pelargonium in the front of the next shot is the tricky Pelargonium ‘Ardens’, this is the first time that I have got it through the winter.

 

I have lots of pots which I will show you another day but I will finish with the wonderfully fragrant Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’. Next year I shall have this in pots everywhere and all my friends will get a pot too. It smells fantastic.

Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’

But now, let’s join Hector and the Pianist in the shade. A hammock is the only place to be when the temperature soars.

Note. For people new to my blog, the first picture isn’t actually me. It is my disreputable scarecrow who clearly lives a life of dissipation when I am not looking.

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In a Vase on Monday. Pink and Orange.

June is a very pink month in the garden, I have lots of pink roses and how pretty they look in a vase. Even the ones that are hanging their heads looking overblown and blowsy sum up June for me.

I used the climbing ‘New Dawn’ which I have everywhere as it is very easy from cuttings. The two unruly weeping pears , Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ in my front garden have roses weaving through them and I have used bits of two of these;  ‘Veilchenblau’ and the pale pink ‘Félicité Perpétue’ . Perpetua and her slave, Felicity were third century martyrs  who suffered the gory deaths so much enjoyed by early Christian martyrs.

Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’

For extra fragrance I have popped in a few pinks and there is a distinct smell of cloves coming from them.

My house is also  fragrant at the moment as I am enjoying vases of sweet peas in every room.
As an antidote to all this pink I have an orange vase this week. I never used to like orange flowers but now I can’t think why,  I love them.  I am appalled by Orange Presidents and Orangemen; the sinister DUP who our unappealing Prime Minister wants to cosy up to in order to hang on to power. But that is no reason to let beautiful orange flowers  be tainted with bigotry and self-serving malevolence.


I have had this Alstroemeria so long that I can’t remember its name. I like it very much apart from its floppy habit.

On the bottom left you can see the double orange poppy, Papaver rupifragum which seeds all round the garden.

I always think the Latin name for Californian Poppy; Eschsholzia californica has too many consonants but it is very pretty and easy. A few packets of seed sprinkled around and you have it forever.

I used just one rose, my lovely ‘Grace’ which is a David Austin rose and one I would never be without. On the right of the above photo you can see Bupleurum longifolium ‘Bronze Beauty’. It is an unusual plant with sprays of copper-coloured flowers.  I save seed every year so that I can pop this everywhere.

Umbellifers are very fashionable and we all love frothy white  Ammi and Orlaya. But I am very fond of yellow flowered ones too. I have used two different ones here, Lovage, Levisticum officinale and Parsnip, Pastinaca sativa flowers. I always leave a few parsnips to go to seed because I love the flowers.


The alstroemerias have a purple tinge so I used a few sprays of purple Geranium psilostemon. As an after thought I popped a bit of Bronze Fennel in to pick up the dark stripes on the alstroemeria flowers. I also used some flowers from a bronze Heuchera.

In a Vase on Monday is  of course, hosted by the inimitable Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden blog.

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Boxford Open Gardens – Sunday 4th June 2017 — Wild Carrot Photography

I have never reblogged anyone’s post before as I prefer to write my own material.  But last Sunday a very hot looking Amanda from Wild Carrot Photography appeared in my garden weighed down by a very business-looking camera. She had spent the afternoon taking photographs of Boxford gardens.  I think her photos are superb and there are some keen gardeners and lovely gardens in Boxford.   The first garden Amanda featured is Chequers which was the home of the late Jenny Robinson, a well-known and much esteemed plantswoman. Roy Lancaster called her ‘ the grand dame of horticulture’. She had an amazing collection of  fritiĺlaries and other rare plants. It was the greatest honour to be invited to one of her summer lily-sniffing parties. It is lovely to see her garden is being cared for and loved.  Maggie Thorpe needs no introduction to East Anglian gardeners, she is incredibly knowledgeable and her courtyard garden is divine. And it was nice that Amanda made the time to finish up here.

So with Amanda’s permission I thought I would share the post with you so that you can get a taste of a sunny June afternoon in  a Suffolk village.

The prospect of another gloriously sunny weekend added to my eager anticipation of visiting Boxford Open Gardens in Suffolk – celebrating its 20th year. In 2016, on a scorchingly hot day, I had to juggle my time between Boxford’s delights and the beautiful garden at Leaven Hall in Leavenheath – which had its doors open […]

via Boxford Open Gardens – Sunday 4th June 2017 — Wild Carrot Photography

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Wordless Wednesday. ‘Silly Cow’.

Passiflora ‘Silly Cow’

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‘June is bustin’ out all over.’

For gardeners, April, May and June are the golden months of the year but June takes the crown because it brings  with it the dizzying, intoxicating splendour of roses. And aren’t they wonderful this year?

But first of all, craven apologies to all my blogging friends who I have shamefully neglected  for the last few weeks. I haven’t yet even answered the lovely comments on my last post, but I will. I have been AWOL for various reasons, first of all technical; I have a new tablet but it has developed problems of its own and my laptop has been on go-slow to the point when I came close to throwing it out of the window. I have been away too, but for the last couple of weeks I have been working hard for a garden open day. Nothing grand like a NGS affair, it was only a village open day, and not even my village, I tagged along with the village down the road. But still one has one’s pride and  I was determined to get it looking its best. I have dug and grubbed and pruned and polished and the garden does look great -but I don’t. Every evening finds me looking like a zombie, gibbering with exhaustion.


Ok, that’s not me really, but every day I am beginning to look a bit more like my alter ego, Chloris the scarecrow.  It is a race as to who deteriorates the fastest.
As well as maintenance, I have completed two new projects, the first is a gravel area for alpines. This is round the sundial, an area which was always a total mess and I hope it will look good all year round now.

I am edging it with irises which I have grown from seed. Here are two still blooming. I haven’t named them yet.

The second one is rather a curiosity. It look as if the female, Iris germanica which I took the seed from, has hybridised with the wild Iris foetidissima which is all over the garden. It certainly surprised me with its dainty little flower.


The Rhodohypoxis which has been living in a pot has found a home here. It should be all right with a pane of glass over it in winter to keep it dry.

Rhodhypoxis baurii

My other recent project is a gravel area round the new shed.  As I painted the shed with stripes it looks like a beach hut so it has its own beach now.

In front of the shed has become a summer home for my collection of succulents which seems to be multiplying at an alarming rate. It has been supplemented recently by my lovely niece who is the Cornish Succulent Queen.

I grew some Agapanthus from seed and now have 22 healthy plants which is more than anyone needs but they have found a home on the beach and in a large pot. I have seen agapanthus growing on the dunes in Tresco so that is in keeping. Sort of.

I begged a cutting of the orange  Horned Sea Poppy, Glaucium flavum from a friend.


The seagull and the fossils came from a recent visit to Lyme Regis. The shells and coral have been collected over the years. So that is my beach.

Last’s year’s project, the secret garden is now beginning to look more established as the plants on the trellises have grown and filled out. I am encouraged that nobody has asked me this year what it is going to be. I found that rather depressing last year because it is not going to be anything. It already is.


The rose is ‘Phyllis Bide’ and the honeysuckle is the intensely fragrant Lonicera ‘Scentsation.’ For fragrance I have also planted trachelospermum, jasmine and lilies.

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Scentsation’

Amongst the shrubs planted round the secret garden to make it more secret I have a lovely double philadelphus which is called Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’.

Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’

The winter garden is now well established and has plenty for summer interest.


Down by the pond, plants are maturing too although I still have to keep plenty of pots
here to deter the heron who likes to be able to wade in.

I grew this Cornus alternifolia from a cutting and at last it is beginning to get a layered look to it.

Cornus alternifolia

Lychnis flos-cuculi

I haven’t done much in the front garden, it will have to be next year’s project. But although neglected it is over- flowering with summer exuberance.

Carpentaria californica

I have one or two hardy orchids in the garden and the trickiest to establish (and also the most expensive) are the slipper orchids, Cypripediums. I have lost two beauties and one has come up but is not blooming. But this one is now in its third year so I am hopeful that I am fulfilling all its finicky needs.

Cypripedium

But never mind exotic orchids, it is the roses that are the attention seekers this month.

Climbing up a large holly I have a seedling of Rosa filipes ‘Kiftgate’. It seems to have all the vigour of its parent so goodness knows where it will end up.

I grew Cooper’s Burmese rose from a cutting and it is now making its way up my greengage tree. I love it for its huge single flowers and the glossy leaves which are always healthy and free from blemishes.

Rosa laevigata ‘Cooperi’

You haven’t got all day so I will save some roses for another time and I will finish with the beautiful climbing tea rose ‘Lady Hillingon’. She hangs her apricot heads languorously, but she is quite irrisistible.

Rosa ‘Lady Hillingdon’

It is Monday and I am enjoying the wonderful scent of a bunch of sweet peas as I write. So I offer them as a contribution to Cathy’s meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’. I started them in the autumn this year and they are so much better than my usual spindly efforts to grow sweet peas. I can’t remember the varieties but they are gorgeous.

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Wordless Wednesday. Big, Blowsy and Beautiful.

In the greenhouse.

Epiphyllum

And in the garden, tree peonies. 

Tree Peony

Tree Peony

But most beautiful and precious of all are my three babies all grown up .

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’

 

 

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In a Vase on Monday. Party Dress.


My tree peony bloom is wearing a party dress of the finest, shimmering silk. As there are more than twenty blooms this year I have picked one for a vase. I feel I should polish the table, get out the silver and dress up in my best dress to entertain her. She is sitting in a hand-blown Victorian vase.

Keeping her company and a perfect match, I have a bloom or two of the late flowering Magnolia liliflora ‘Nigra’.

This magnolia has now formed a mature tree. It comes from a layered piece of one in my previous garden. Layering is the best method of propagating magnolias.

Another perfect match is the Clematis mantana Warwickshire Rose’.

Clematis montana ‘Warwickshire Rose’

The other two pink flowers are aquilegia  vulgaris and a pink Spanish bluebell which I cannot get rid of so I have decided to enjoy them. The blue ones are even worse, threading themselves through the beds in the front garden.

There is no sun today to show the colours in the best light, but I picked the flowers yesterday and took a couple of photos outside.


In another vase I have picked these flowers as I have an abundance at the moment. I never realised they are fragrant. Do you recognise what they are?

‘In a Vase on Monday’ is hosted by Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden. There is a growing band of people who look forward to enjoying a vase on Monday so do have a look at what they have to show us today. I still have not had chance to catch up with my blogging friends, but I look forward to seeing what every one has been doing in the gardens later today.
One more look at my tree peony.

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The Darling Buds of May.

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’

The fabulous Paeonia rockii now has to be called Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’ which means tree peony from the Gansu district of China.  For details see my post Paeonia suffruticosa ssp. rockii. The most desirable one is the white one with the maroon blotch. I grew the above two from seed bought from Chilterns and I was quite disappointed  when they turned out to be pink and magenta. But still they are wonderful and this year at nine years old, they have about twenty buds each.  Watching them unfold is a source of utter delight.  Still, I longed for the white one and all my hopes were pinned on my six year old plant which has two buds for the first time this year. The seed came from a scion of Stern’s plant at Highdown and was given to me by Ivan Dickings who propagated the Highdown peony and returned a plant to Stern’s garden at Highdown after the original died. But Ivan grows a lot of tree peonies and the bees have obviously been busy and this one is going to be pink too. As it takes tree peonies at least six years from seed to flower you have to wait a long time to see what you have… Blow.

Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’ from seed of scion of the Highdown Peony rockii.

I have been away and every day I was anxious in case I missed the the tree peonies which really deserve a party and fireworks when they are full in bloom. But we gardeners are always worried about missing something when we go away. I have been absent from the blogging world for a while too, because of a malfunctioning tablet but I have a new one now and I hope to catch up with everyone soon.

We have been visiting family in Cornwall and the wonderful ravine gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan never fail to delight. They are tantalisingly full of plants which I can’t grow. For instance, you can walk through the gunnera grove at Trebah which is like walking through a forest.

Gunnera manicata at Trebah

I wish I could grow rhododendrons, enkianthus or Chilean Fire Bush.

 

Enkianthus

 

Embothrium coccineum

The succulents at Trebah are amazing. I wish I could leave mine outside to grow as big as this.

 

 

At Glendurgan,  amongst other delights, there is a maze and the biggest, oldest tulip tree I have ever seen.

Maze, Glendurgan

Lirodendron tulipifera

At Cross Common Nursery on the Lizard, I saw plenty more plants which I can’t grow. What fun it would be to grow a Wong Wonga vine or a Banksia.

Pandorea pandorana ‘Golden Rain’

Banksia

But I have lovely things too which I didn’t see in the West Country. As soon as I saw it last year, I put my name on the waiting list for this fabulous new clematis which won Plant of the Year award at Chelsea last year.

Clematis koreana ‘Amber’

Gladiolus tristis comes from South Africa and is not reliably hardy, it gets its grassy leaves in the winter and then in late spring the lovely flowers appear. I took a risk and planted it outside and it is rewarding me with its  pale yellow, scented flowers which don’t look at all triste to me. I wonder how it got its name.

Gladiolus tristis

I have a late flowering Magnolia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’ with pretty little lemon-scented flowers emerging from cinnamon coloured buds. It used to be a michelia but has been reclassified. I don’t know who Gail is but I admire her taste.

Magnolia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’

They say that crime doesn’t pay but a stolen cutting of the shrubby Lonicera tatarica is doing well. Stop tutting, it was a huge bush and a tiny cutting. I had never seen it before but I read that it is invasive in some parts of the world. It will serve me right if it takes over the garden.

Lonicera tatarica

The apple blossom is always a welcome sight but even lovelier in my eyes is the quince, Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’.

Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’

I don’t want the lovely month of May to go too fast but the first roses are always a joy. ‘Canary Bird’ has been blooming for ages and this year is the best it has ever been.

I love single roses and last year I bought Rosa ecae ‘Helen Knight’ which is similar to ‘Canary Bird’ but has darker, buttercup- yellow flowers and ferny leaves.

Rosa ecae ‘Helen Knight’

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ is another yellow early flowering rose. It is a rambler and boy, does it love to ramble. Mine which was grown from a tiny cutting has now reached the top of the apple tree where I expect the flowers are delighting the pigeons but I can’t see much of them. It is now heading for the garage roof and on to  the next village.
More manageable are the lovely roses with chinensis genes, Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ and Rosa chinensis ‘Bengal Beauty’. They both bloom for weeks and weeks and the first buds have just opened.

Rosa odorata ‘Mutabilis’

Rosa chinensis ‘Bengal Beauty’

I just managed to catch the camassias before they went over, they are lovely but they bloom so briefly that blink and you will miss them.
There are so many buds of promise still to come and some pretty groups of plants that have kept looking good for some time. The white flowers in the next picture are the late flowering Narcissus  triandrus ‘Petrel’. The euphorbia is Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.

Here we have sky-blue Brunnera macrophylla with white Dicentra spectabilis and white-flowered variegated honesty.

It’s really good to be home to watch the rest of the darling buds of May unfurling. And I am looking forward to catching up with my blogging friends.

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The Primrose Path.

‘And in the wood where often you and I
on primrose-beds were wont to lie’ .  
A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

It ‘s a bit chilly for lying around on primrose beds at the moment but as we cycle round the Suffolk lanes they are a wonderful sight.
 As the primroses start to go over then the cowslips look ever more fabulous. Here is my daughter’s favourite walk at the moment through the fields near her home.

Primula veris

Primroses are notoriously promiscuous and although the primroses and cowslips usually grow in different locations, sometimes they grow in the same place and hybridise. They do the same in the garden and I quite enjoy the resulting polyanthus in a range of colours.

These primrose x cowslip crosses are called Primula polyantha.  They are not to be confused with true oxlips, Primula elatior. We are lucky in Suffolk as we still have some native oxlips as well as cowslips, although they are rare. The umbels of pale, primrose- yellow, oxlip flowers  fall on just one side.

 Oxslip. Primula elatior

As we cycle around I have seen the odd wild primroses in pink and red and I have also come across red and orange cowslips growing far away from any houses.

Wild Cowslips

You can buy seeds of these colourful cowslips in sunset shades and I am very fond of them. I have them dotted about so that here and there they can hybridise with my primroses.

The resulting polyanthus are very vigorous. I know most plants people cringe at the idea of those  rather vulgar, oversized, gaudy polyanthus  you see on sale everywhere in winter. They will wilt in a hot room or die outside in the frost.  I dislike them too but I don’t believe that the only acceptable primrose is the modest native Primula vulgaris.  People have been hybridising primroses since Elizabethan times and doubles or hose- in -hose were  always highly sought after. Old fashioned double primroses are particularly beguiling. Unfortunately they don’t set seed and tend to disappear. I have loved and lost several. Fortunately there are some modern double hybrids.

Primrose 'Quaker's Bonnet'

Primula ‘Quaker’s Bonnet’

Primrose 'Sunshine Susie'

Primula ‘Sunshine Susie’

I also love the laced primroses in gold or silver.


And then there is the delectable double laced Primula ‘Elizabeth Killelay’. This was found in her garden, by a lady called Hazel Bolton, she named it after her grand daughter. Imagine finding this in your garden .

Primula ‘Elizabeth Killkelay’

There are some dainty primroses which have been crossed with Primula juliae to give neat foliage and smaller flowers. I have two, Primula ‘Tomato Red’ and Primula ‘Lady Greer’ which is a neat little polyanthus.

Primula wanda ‘Tomato Red’

Primula ‘Lady Greer’

 

For many years I grew lovely Barnhaven primroses which come in such yummy colours you feel you should be eating them. Last year I discovered the Irish primroses which have been developed over 35 years by Joe Kennedy from seeds of hedgerow primroses. His eyes must be sharper than mine because I have never seen any wild ones with the lovely bronze leaves of these beauties. They are all very strong and healthy and now I am on a mission to collect them all. So far this is what I have.

There are over 600 species of primula and some of them are very miffy little alpines. But as long as you have some  ordinary primroses in different colours they will seed around and delight you with their multi-coloured off-spring. And what else blooms from February until April? I love them, they are one of the delights of spring.

 

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