I grew some of our native primroses, Primula vulgaris and Primula veris from seed a few years ago and these have colonised in quite a few parts of the garden, particularly along the hedgerow areas and in the more shady spots.
Primula vulgaris, or primrose, is a delicate little plant with lemony coloured flowers with an orange eye, while Primula veris, or Cowslip, has taller stems and multi-flowered heads. The latter is quite happy in more open sites too – I have one which has self seeded at the edge of my polytunnel in a really sunny exposed site.
I also love the double primroses, such as Dawn Ansell (white and sweetly scented) and Miss Indigo (purple flowers with a white edge).
My friend Lesley gave me some drumstick primroses which are a pale lilac and they look really delicate and pretty in the bottom part of the garden. They have globe shaped flowers and enjoy humus rich, lime free soils.
Once we are into April, the Candelabra primulas come into their own. They come in a wide variety of coulours and have whirls of flowers up the stem.They are happy in moist, slightly acid soils and are often found near to ponds and other water features.
There are lots of types of primulas – I haven’t mentioned the bedding ones, or my favourite plants, Primula auricula but will come back to them in my next blog.
General information about the above can be found in the RHS book ‘Primroses and Auriculas’ (Get it from Amazon). If you want to get more involved there is a National Auricula and Primula Society.