Per­fect prim­u­las

EDP Norfolk - - Garden Guide -

AN EARLY spring flow­er­ing plant I would never be with­out in my gar­den is the na­tive prim­rose. Flow­er­ing its heart out even in the cold­est spring its lovely scented yel­low flow­ers are pleas­ing to the eye for us and also give bees and other in­sects an early spring boost.

Along with our na­tive prim­rose there are also many other va­ri­eties avail­able some of the best are the Kennedy Ir­ish Prim­roses se­lected and bred by Joe Kennedy over many years for their dark leaves and sim­ple con­trast­ing flow­ers. The first one I grew, and still one of my favourites, is P.v. ‘Dark Ros­aleen’ which has dark bronzy leaves and rich, deep red flow­ers with a pinky­white stripe on each pe­tal car­ried on sin­gle and polyan­thus stems. P.v. ‘In­n­is­free’ has sim­i­lar fo­liage with vel­vet red flow­ers with a yel­low eye.

A more re­cent ad­di­tion is P.v ‘Avon­dale’, a very free-flow­er­ing green leaved va­ri­ety with de­light­ful soft pink flow­ers, a thin white stripe through each pe­tal and an ochre yel­low eye. There are many other va­ri­eties in the Kennedy se­ries in a range of colours with more be­ing tri­alled be­fore re­lease; they are all tough plants, pre­fer­ring a cool moist shady spot; they cope well with clay soil as well as bet­ter drained.

I have also grown them in win­ter and spring con­tain­ers where they look re­ally ef­fec­tive on their own or planted with small ev­er­green grasses such as Carex va­ri­eties; they make a fab­u­lous long-lived ad­di­tion to any gar­den.

Primula vulgaris ‘In­n­is­free’ Primula vulgaris ‘Dark Ros­aleen’

Primula vulgaris ‘Avon­dale’

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