Today seemed like a good day to tend the Primula auricula bed by weeding, feeding and cleaning. The above photo shows the bed after I got everything all cleaned up. the plants are in full to just past full bloom. As you can see this end is getting too much shade from a large hemlock hedge, so I’ll be moving them out to the other end soon so they’ll get more sun. Right now the sunnier end is full of Primula sieboldii, Helleborus and other assorted Primula.
What follows is a sampling of the auricula that are in bloom now and what I hope to be able to increase enough of to have some to sell at future plant sales and enter in primrose shows. Most of them aren’t named…they mostly came from Susan Schnare of New Hampshire who developed a sensitivity to them and now gets a bad rash whenever she handles them too much. I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me!!
The next photo shows an interesting growth in the center. It looks like it was trying to form more petals but couldn’t quite get there. I really like the fleshy-pink color.
Next is a really pretty plum purple with great farina on the center white ring and a yellow raised crown around the tube. But too bad it’s a pin-eyed plant and not a thrum. Show quality plants must have the anthers showing at the tube and not the pistil as in this one.
This next one is the softest pink. Susan got the seed from Leslie of Pop’s Plants in the UK and so she named it ‘Leslie’s Pink’. I love how the central eye is kind of star-shaped and it’s also a good increaser of offsets, so I should have a number of these to offer in the future.
These next few photos show an assortment of plants all in need of cleaning up of the old leaves that are now starting to soften, yellow and rot. They must be removed so that the crown of the plant doesn’t get infected with the mold and start to also rot away.
Here is what I’m talking about……all those browned bits must be cleaned away. The dead leaves are easy to remove by just gently pulling downward on them.
And here is a nice clean plant. Look at all those offsets!! I could dig this plant up and gently divide it up into many smaller plants, pot them up and hopefully overwinter them for next year’s plant sales. Which I will do, but not today. That will be saved for a future post where I’ll show how to do it.
Next comes the feeding…I use Espoma brand bulbtone granular fertilizer because it’s mostly organic and has a good portion of natural phosphorus for good root growth in addition to trace minerals and other good things. I use it on all of my flower beds. Sprinkle it around each plant and lightly work it in with a cultivator.
Here is an offset raring to go! Look at those roots just ready to bury themselves into the soil. This is when the plants are sending out lots of fresh new roots and so it’s a good time to take offsets to increase your collection and have extras to share with friends.
Sharing plants with fellow gardeners is one of the joys of gardening! I dug quite a few plants today as I will be spending tuesday helping a friend dig up her Iris beds that has become something she doesn’t want to take on anymore. A couple of other people will be there and so I’m bringing plants to share and I’m sure I’ll be going home with lots of new ones! Gardeners are great that way!