By Doreen Moody
gardeners can resist the charm of our native
primrose Primula Vulgaris which used to grow
in large numbers but now seems to be decreasing.
It was during the reign of the Tudors that primroses
first came to be widely grown for the interest
and beauty of their flowers, for even then many
variations in the wild had become known, a double
yellow variety was written about as early as
They were often used in the quaint knot gardens
of that time probably because they came into
bloom at the beginning of March in the more
favoured areas. They continued in flower for
two to three months, now the more modern hybrids
are used for colourful bedding displays for
the same reason. There are numerous named varieties
of primroses but for me the double varieties
have the most
appeal. I had quite a number of different ones
some years ago but lost the lot one dry summer.
There are some modem double hybrids such as
"Corporal Baxtei" a large double dark
red, "Captain Blood" a shade or two
paler not quite fully double, but if one is
lucky you may find some of the varieties that
Granny used to grow such as "Cloth of Gold"
a double yellow," Quaker's Bonnet lavender",
"Gerard's White", "Chevithorne
pink", "Our Pat" purple etc.
I have started a fresh collection and hope to
learn by my mistakes, by sticking to a few simple
1 Move to summer quarters i n dappled shade
as soon as they have finished flowering.
Do not divide in the first season unless growing
Plant in humus rich soil containing some
coarse grit to ensure good drainage.
Never allow them to dry out.
If the plant looks sickly lift and cheek
for root damage from the vine weevil grubs (white
with orange heads) if you find them wash the
roots in a mild disinfectant and move to a new
Sounds like a lot of work out you will be well
rewarded as these plants are comparatively rare
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