Primula flowers in August are rare, and tend to look confused, like these late Victorians…
… or chewed up, like this out-of-season polyanthus, a treat for slugs.
This is the time of year to look for seeds, not flowers. Here are Primula (Dodecatheon) meadia pods ready for harvesting.
Primula polyneura seed pods breaking open:
A stem of Primula auricula seeds, right before it was cut and carried to safety:
And Primula sieboldii seed pods, still green:
This Primula alpicola had three tiers of flowers (not all at once). The picture shows (along with interfering Siberian iris leaves) the entire middle tier, the base of the top tier, and some of the taller seed heads of the bottom tier. There should be some seed to collect. This plant is var. violacea (blue), and there are white alpicolas nearby, so the seed may be a bit of both.
Late summer is also time to plant out seedlings. Here is a new bed of auriculas. They will be interplanted with later-flowering primulas. These plants were sown in winter 2011-12, not this past winter. They will be starting their third year next spring when they flower.
More auriculas, waiting for a home. The under-producing strawberry bed, perhaps?
It will soon be time to make decisions about small seedlings. After the slugs have retreated, a few of these (the largest) will be planted out, some in the peat bed, some in one of the alpine gardens or pans, and the rest will be left in their trays (tofu containers) in the cold frame over winter. They look small to be put out in open ground over winter, but they can still do a lot of growing in the cool autumn months, and I will give them a light cover of dry leaves to protect against drying winds before the snow falls. I am always a bit amazed to see little plants in April looking bigger and brighter than when I’d last seen them in November. They don’t just survive winter. Some of them really seem to like it.
These cyclamen pose another problem. They will likely die outdoors in the winter. But do I want to keep them in the house again? I had two survive outdoors last winter; one has produced a single new leaf, and the other just sits with its one old leaf.
In the peat bed, the large, late-summer leaves of P denticulata and P japonica feed the developing buds of next year’s plants.