Archive for the ‘Plant Shows’ Category

I know, I know….I’ve been neglecting this blog and you my readers! I had all good intentions over the winter to keep up with posts but I guess I got lazy and I was doing lots of posting on facebook….so does that count as an excuse??? I thought not. So now that the spring season is really, really here…at least it is here in Vermont, I will try my very best to add posts every now & then. This first of the season is about the latest primrose show that our New England chapter of the American Primrose Society hosted on the first weekend of May at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, Mass. What follows are a few photos I took during my few moments of free time when I wasn’t vending plants, attending meetings and slides shows and doing lots of visiting with old friends and making new ones.

All the photos are of plants that were entered into the show. I never took the time to get any photos of people!


All the best in division winners and the best in show went to Joe Philip for the large pot of yellow hose-in-hose polyanthus.




This mixed container was entered by Matt Mattus in the five different plants in one container class….it’s a winner!



These are P. denticulata and the white one is mine…no ribbon, I just couldn’t get it to open more flowers. That was a problem for everyone this year.



An auricula benched by Judy Sellers of New York who always has the most beautiful plants and usually wins many of the ribbons. You can just see the blue ribbon and the best in division ribbon this plant won.



This is one of my P. rosea and it won a first! I entered another one that took a second. These primroses always open first and are the brightest pink. Some of my plants still have flowers on them and that never happens in a normal spring….but what’s normal anymore?



Another winning auricula!


Here is a P. vulgaris with a silver edging entered by Susan Schnare from New Hampshire. She grew this one from seed and it was highly coveted. Bruce Lockhart got to take it home in trade for some other primroses that Susan wanted from his garden….plant people are always looking to trade and no offer will go unconsidered.


Another one of my plants. This is a polyanthus primrose that I bought a few years ago at Pine Knot Farms in Virginia. Every spring they hold a few open houses where some other growers set up tables to vend their plants and this one caught my eye.




This plant was the talk of the show! It was benched by Debby Wheeler from Massachusetts and she got it from a cousin in Virginia. It’s not available for sale in the US yet. And we’re not sure of its hardiness but it sure is pretty!


One other thing!! There is now a facebook page dedicated just to all things Primula! It’s called The Primula Group click the link and you’ll be taken right to it where you can post your photos of primroses.

So there you have it…..now that I have made a new start I will promise (sort of) to get posts out more often.


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It’s now coming close to show season in the plant world. While there are loads of garden shows now open all over the country,  what I am most interested in are the specific plant society shows where you’ll find alpines of all sorts, Primula, Narcissus, etc. grown to perfection by meticulous and sometimes not so meticulous growers.  The next show that I will be attending this year is the American Primrose Society National Show being held in Potland, OR.  I’m so excited to be attending this show as the Pacific Northwest is the Primrose growers ideal climate and the concentration of nurseries that grow Primula and all sorts of woodland treasures is fantastic!! I have compiled a large list of nurseries & gardens  to visit….here’s a small sampling of them…Wild Ginger Farm, Fraser’s Thimble Farms & The Bloedel Reserve . And that’s just a small selection! I’m going to bring a fairly empty suitcase so I’ll have lots of room to bring plants home….I may even mail some plants home! The show is going to be at the same time as the Oregon Hardy Plant Society and in the same venue so I’ll have access to many fine growers at the show. More info on that here.

I so enjoy entering plants in these shows just to see how my plants stack up against others more experienced at this sort of thing than I am.  And every year I learn some new tidbit of information to help me along on that road to perfection. In the very first Primrose show I ever went to I entered a Primula polyanthus ‘Garnet Cowichan’ and won a first place ribbon! How excited and proud I was to have achieved that!! But then came the heartbreak of losing the plant that same season. The plants that I dig up and pot for these shows always suffer quite a bit from their rude treatment. But I’ve found with more careful attention to their needs I can keep them going after replanting into the garden.

I grew this plant from seed-exchange seed a few years back.

I really love the form of these hose-in-hose...flower in a flower plants.

Isn’t it a beauty? After I replanted this into the garden it reduced in size over the season, but it has grown back to a decent size with some coddling.

I’m now very busy with the APS seed exchange as I’m the seedex manager and the orders have been arriving all winter. It’s a fun way to get through the long winter and it’s also interesting to see what sorts of seeds members order. Some folks are all about the species and don’t order any crosses or named varieties, some folks that’s all they want and then there are mostly the growers who sample a bit of everything. That’s pretty much where I am. I’ve been sowing pots & pots of seed over the winter and having a blast watching the little sprouts emerging through the soil under the grow lights. Here’s a photo of what my kitchen table looks like when I’m filling seed orders.

APS Seed-exchange Bits & Pieces

Setting up to fill orders takes a little time, but it's interesting & fun to do.

Seedlings are sprouting now from seed sown earlier in the year. Some come up in droves while others come up very sparsely. Why is that I wonder? Condition of the seed when collected, storing of the seed after collection, temperature of the seed pot after sowing…lots of variables to consider.

P. florindae seedlings. Seed from the APS seedex this year.

This seed was sown in Feb. and has been germinating for the past few days.

Also under the growlights are a few pots of P. auricula that I overwintered on the porch and have brought indoors to see if I can get them to flower in time for either the show in Oregon or our chapter show in May. I did get one to bloom last year but the timing was off. That is such a tricky thing, forcing plants into bloom out of their natural bloom cycle. It’s all about temperature. So we’ll see how things go in the next few weeks.

An auricula seedling that hasn't bloomed yet for me.

Trying to force these auricula into bloom for the show.

There’s usually something to keep me busy during the winter that’s plant related….now if I only had a greenhouse then I’d really keep my hands in the soil all year!!

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