May 14, 2006

Acquiring a Primrose Collection

Our Friends garden before we started digging primula

The Car Full of Primroses
We spent the weekend helping a friend, well, actually, it was her most generous gift,to let us take a collection of Primrose hybrids, crosses and species, representing nearly forty years of breeding and growing, and relocate it from her rural upstate New York paradise in the woods, to our garden in Massachusetts, a nearly six hour drive away. She and her husband are moving to a new house on top of a mountain, from a deep woodland location, where they have lived for nearly thirty years. Sharing collection of plants is something that gardeners just do, and banking a collection with a capable gardening friend lucky enough to accommodate the collection, will allow one to perhaps double their chances of not losing a favorite cross.

Regardless, we we're all thrilled with this scenario, since She knows that the plants will have a great home, one with far fewer rocks in the soil, and once her move to a beautiful new house is completed, she can re-establish a collection again, and we have then all shared. We have been so fortunate to have now added many of Judy's award-winning crosses and species in including P. eliator, P. acaulis, P. juliae, P. veris, P.x polyanthus, Cowichan, P. japonica, P. auricula and many more including strains from Barnhaven and vintage strains from seed. This sort of instant-collection happens rarely, and I have been fortunate to have been gifted some important collections like this in the past, with winter-blooming Narcissus bulbocodiums, and a species collections of Cyclamen. This important primula collection will now get our breeding efforts kick-started, and we are thrilled and eager to get started. With a few hundred of seedlings of our own to plant out this fall, we are underway. Garden primula are something that few people grow, limiting their primrose consuming to the one dollar acaulis types forced by florists in the supermarket in the winter, and then disposing of the killed plant a week or two later. I urge you to try garden primula, and see what you and the Home depot's of the world are missing out on - a long lived, over-blooming tastefull spring-blooming plant that in precious and unusual enough to cause one to gasp and say, wow, those are really different.

Our friend Judy's garden is located in south central New York state, and even though we left Massachusetts in a driving heavy rain, with floods threatening and a National Disaster about to be declared, a few hours later, after descending from the Berkshire mountains in western Massachusetts. We entered sun and the spring once again enveloped us.

Preparing a space for replanting primula

Upon arriving home at one AM, we entered rain again. It is amazing that the day in the next state over was sunny and warm, and back home, the nearly seven of inches of badly needed rain fell. Sunday was spent in rain gear and mud, fighting off hypothermia and digging in gorgeous primula in the muck. We carefully unloaded the truck and separated primula by species, type and by the conditions that they needed. Here, the moisture lovers are getting planted in a damp area near the Petasites (Japanese Butterbur). See how big they are getting now?

Planting Primula japonica in heavy rain

1 comment :

It's always a good thing to leave a comment!