French garden diary - primrose primula perfection

Primula Gold Laced

Cathy Thompson explains her enduring passion for the humble primrose

In my botanic garden ‘youth’ we spent many hours once a month in late winter and spring loading up the van with alpine gems to take up to the RHS early season shows.

I fell hard for the primulas – perfection in their clay half pots, but sometimes not for the open garden.

Plants like the ‘show’ auriculas are best grown in well-ventilated cold-frames, sheltered with glass in winter, because the beautiful mealy farina (dusting of white) on leaves and petals is easily destroyed by rain.

These auriculas were the favourite hobby flower of home-working weavers in Cheshire and Lancashire, since they were always on hand to dash out and protect them with umbrellas if rainfall threatened!

I have plenty of wild and hybrid Primula vulgaris here ...

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