April fool. Sort of. I have no flowers to show. To see pictures of Primulas this time of year, I recommend the Primula forum on the Scottish Rock Garden Club website. But I opened the cold frame yesterday, removed the insulating leaves, and took pictures of some of the better looking plants.
These two pots of seedlings are Primula halleri and P scotica sown a year ago from my own garden-collected seed. A downside to growing from seed is that you can end up with twenty or thirty plants when you have space for three. (Click to enlarge.)
This is my lone named hybrid Primula allionii, ‘Clarence Elliot.’ Emerging after five months and some weeks buried under leaves in a snow-covered box, it looks only slightly worse than when it went in. It needs a bit of spring cleaning and will be budding up in a couple weeks, I expect.
These three border auriculas, grown from Barnhaven seed, are entering their third spring as flowering size plants. There are other auriculas in the box that don’t look as good as these. Some of the named show auriculas, in particular, appear less than robust. A handful of snow and some sunshine should wake them up.
Everything in the cold frame appeared to have come through…
…except the Cyclamen hederifolium. Somehow, their soil had dried out. The plants may be alive; I’ll wait and see. I had too many Cyclamen seedlings to bring them all indoors over winter and placed a few in the cold frame as an experiment — they are rated hardy to zone 5; this is zone 3. I also planted several good-size ones in the woodland bed. We have had good snow cover through a not extremely cold winter, so maybe they’ve survived. I’ll know in another month or so.
I also over-wintered some potted plants in the garage to give them an earlier start in the spring. You can see that if they were outdoors, they would be deeply snowed under. Now they can be moved out onto the plastic-draped rack, or “mini-greenhouse” (a bit of which is visible next to the cold frame).
Here, resting buds of Primula cortusoides can be seen below last years’ foliage. (Click to enlarge.)