Thursday, 28 June 2012

A pretty pair of primulas


Time for a couple of good, old-fashioned pretty flowers. In fact two collections of pretty flowers in striking inflorescences. This one earning the common name of Orchid Primrose, Red-hot Poker Primrose or Chinese Pagoda Primrose.

I was startled last June, the first time I saw Primula viallii in Kew Gardens. Those vivid pink or purplish (almost blue in my photos I'm afraid) flowers below a cone of deep red flower buds, intensified in the early morning or late evening.


It's native to China where, according to Kew's website, it grows 'in wet meadows, near water in valleys, and in thickets of prickly oak bushes, from 2,800 to 4,000 metres above sea level'.

In Kew Gardens it grows in a damp depression in the Rock Garden, and in the nearby Woodland Garden. And surprise, surprise, it's back again this June!

There are hundreds of different kinds of Primula, maybe 500 species. The name 'primula' refers to it being a little, early flowering plant, one of the first in spring. Or something along those lines. My featured plant is of course bucking the trend in flowering in almost mid-summer, as do many of the so-called Asiatic primroses.

Such as this lovely Primula capitata subspecies mooreana with its flowers blue in life and in my photo.


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