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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Autumn 2001

By Doreen Moody

PrimrosesFew 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 1500.

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 Evening Primrosemost 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 rules

1 Move to summer quarters i n dappled shade as soon as they have finished flowering.

2 Do not divide in the first season unless growing strongly.

3 Plant in humus rich soil containing some coarse grit to ensure good drainage.

4 Never allow them to dry out.

5 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 planting area.

6 Sounds like a lot of work out you will be well rewarded as these plants are comparatively rare therefore expensive.


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