Although I grow some primulas successfully they have not naturalised in my garden by self seeding as much as I had expected. The lower part of my garden is quite wet for long periods and most primulas like copious moisture. Unfortunately some species just don't seem to like my fine sandy soil.
|I do manage to naturalise a few primulas|
My lack of success certainly seems to apply to primrose and polyanthus. They survive a year or two when I plant them but then they just fade away. It would seem that much of the gardening world has similar experience as all year round primroses 'walk' in vast quantity off garden centre shelves. Many gardeners in actual practice grow them as annuals or perennials. An ideal nurserymans's plant!
|Primroses and especially polyanthus are often rejuvenated by division, I was delighted yesterday to see that a villager had planted some spare polyanthus divisions on the village plot where last Winter’s flooding had killed out some plants|
My failures do not apply to double primrose, Primula vulgaris 'Nectarine'. This has survived in my garden six years now. Perhaps significantly it grows in a tub where it is not forgotten, never dries out or gets smothered in the open ground by aggressive neighbours. It is never dehydrated by hedge roots or trees and in full Summer can be placed in light shade.
|Now in June it needs to be hidden away in the nursery. It would be a good time to divide it|
It flowers twice a year for me. Typically it comes into flower sometime in February although this does depend on the kind of Winter. It gives me ten weeks of colour before I tidy my tub away to my little nursery where the plant goes semi dormant. Come late August it bursts into life to gives me another three months before more severe Winter weather brings an end to its season. Perhaps it is able to flower so long because as a double flower it does not set seed.
Regular readers will know that all my tub plants are grown in my own sandy soil and they are fed by YaraMila fertiliser applied as a very light top dressing two or three times a year. (In truth when I remember or should I judge that my plant needs further nutrition).
Although I do not remember ever dividing my 'Nectarine' I do know that normal primrose and polyanthus benefit from division every few years when old plants can be rejuvenated.
|These primroses have survived on a grave in Worsbrough cemetery for twenty years now. They are never divided but rejuvenate themselves by self seeding|
Garden primroses have been extensively hybridized for many years. New varieties come… and go. The genetic variation in breeding has come from Primula vulgaris, Primula vulgaris sibthorpii and Primula vulgaris balearica. Regular readers will know that hybridization fascinates me and I wondered if Nectarine’s good constitution was the result of any novel genes from a different primula species. No luck when I searched on the net but I did find that 'Nectarine' was bred by primula enthusiasts breeders David and Priscilla Kersley. It is one of a series of double primulas marketed as the Belarina series. Apparently the petals are edible and can be used for cake decoration.
I don’t suppose they taste as good as a nectarine.
|Whoops I have noticed from my pictures that the plant is spotted with leaf hopper damage. It is of very little consequence|
Moving pots around
An advantage of containers is that your plants can be shifted to compose attractive groupings. I am not sure if I have quite succeeded?
|Nectarine and pittosporum|
|My hyacinths have ‘gone over’ but a backcloth of Corydalis flexuosa remains|
|Dicentra cucullaria does particularly well in tubs|
A further note on leaf hoppers
More correctly called jassids you will get some curious pictures if you do a net search for images as more exotic species are used in fishing! It’s about the size of an aphid and you will have to be quick to find the culprit as it immediately hops away! My poor picture is of a static nymph stage in its life cycle.
Leaf hoppers are to be found on a wide range of plants but are usually of little concern
If you google ‘leaf hopper’ you will gets loads of pictures of froghoppers! That’s ‘cuckoo spit’ and quite different!
|Mottling caused by jassid 'flies'(leaf hoppers)|
The damage caused by leaf hoppers is a faint mottle on the leaf surface and is usually insignificant. If I had not been writing this post I would not know I had it!
If badly grown already stressed plants succumb to leaf hoppers it can be controlled by most general purpose aphid killers
I have gone on about my Yaramila fertilizer several times.