Primulas, Early April, 2015

Pictures from the first half of the month. It’s an early spring. No Primulas in bloom — but any day now. (These three basement plants don’t count.)

I am marking the farinose-leaved border auriculas for crossing. By the time the plants are in flower and can be hand-pollinated, much of the farina will have been washed away.

The farina on this Primula marginata is yellow, I discovered, when a bit rubbed off on my hand, pulling off last year’s dead leaves. I have an auricula with yellow farina. If it flowers in time, I will try crossing it with this one.

Last fall, I dug up and divided a Primula villosa that was getting leggy. The pieces are in four pots. After spending winter in the cold flame, they will flower earlier than had the plant been left in the alpine garden. The white buds will turn a light purple over the next couple of days. Click to enlarge and see the furry leaf margins. (Go on.)

So far, the race to be first among the auriculas in bloom is between these two. The buds were apparent when the snow melted in March. One bud on the auricula x marginata (toothed leaves) was starting to open, but the weather cooled down and the turtle-head bud closed up tight. These are two of many seedlings I’m hoping to see flowering for the first time this spring.

Some of the edged blue acaulis seedlings spent the winter in the cold frame. I wasn’t sure they would be hardy, but didn’t want them all indoors. They came through this relatively short and mild winter just fine. We’ll see how they cope out in the open garden next winter. The early buds are light blue, the colour deepening as they grow. When they open, they will likely be as dark as the ones at the top of the post.

Primula elatior. Its third year in the garden, it is now a good size and will be spectacular in bloom. Elatiors rise very quickly out of the ground. One day, you’re poking around looking for signs of life, and the next time you look, there’s a whole plant.

My first auricula is over 15 years old now, a slow grower. This year, for the first time, it has three rosettes and, likely, will produce three trusses of its clear yellow and deliciously scented flowers.

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