Thursday, 23 May 2013

Still running late!

After a few more sunny days we are back to overcast skies, a little rain, and worst of all a cold north westerly wind. Here a few pictures of what is flowering in the cold mini-tunnel and the garden. 
Erythronium 'Harvington Snowgoose' an E.californicum form.

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Erythronium 'Pagoda'. A more heavily marked form.

 Erythroniums are another genus which fit in well with my semi-woodland area, they are beautiful bulbs but do have the annoying habit of hiding their beauty by keeping their heads down. Like all true woodlanders they are fleetingly transient, soon disappearing below ground after a brief flowering  period. Yet another member of the Liliaceae, they are best propagated by seed, cold sown as soon as ripe, or by removing offsets in late summer. 

Primula  ellisiae

A beautiful primula from Section Parryi which is now listed as Primula rusbyi subsp. ellisiae hails from North America and is tolerant of high summer temperatures as long as it is not allowed to dry out. The buds open a dark pink and gradually fade. Lightly scented.
Primula handeliana

 A Crystallophlomis Section primula from sub-section Maximowiczii, like Primula maximowiczii this Asiatic is a strong grower, it has large strap-like leaves and delicate yellow flowers carried on strong stems.

Primula scotica
A tiny gem from the Farinosae Section, which is, in fact, a British native hailing from the pasture land adjacent to the sea (
machair) in the extreme north of Scotland and the Orkneys. I grow this in pots of a soil-less compost, peat and grit mixture which I use for most primulas. There is variation to the height of the flower stem but the shorter ones make the more balanced plants. A typical member of the section, it sets abundant seed which is useful as it is reported to be short lived. A little treasure! 
Primula frondosa (frondosa means leafy)
 Primula frondosa is another primula of the Farinosae Section, these are plants from a cold sowing most of which flowered in the cold tunnel last season, although some of the weaker plants had their flower stems removed to try and encourage growth rather than allowing them to deplete their resources through flowering. They were planted outside in the autumn of last year. Very highly recommended as it is relatively easy to grow as long as it is not allowed to dry out in summer. Found in Bulgaria it is a close relative of Primula farinosa.

I usually give some of the herbaceous perennials the "Chelsea Chop", having a garden surrounded by trees tends to draw plants upwards although this year we are in for a short growing season so this may not be too big a problem. It's Chelsea Week and my eupatorium or Joe Pye Weed which is always given the "chop" is barely three inches high!


  1. Amazing shots of the Erythroniums Rick. We have quite a number of pagoda, ours surprisingly seem to have been earlier in coming into bloom than your ones.

    1. Thanks Alistair, the Erythroniums were actually in flower about two weeks ago, the pictures were taken a week ago, so not exactly up to date. Have you ever seen Primula scotica in the wild? I would be interested to know.

  2. Hi Rick, enjoyed your very knowledgable post ! Love the Erythroniums, and the less common Primulas.

    1. Thank you Jane, glad you liked my post, I tend to grow the more unusual species. I am quite computer literate, but have never really been into Facebook so I have difficulty getting my head round the Google + format which you seem to use as a link to your blog.