}

April 18, 2011

Early Alpine Primroses

PRIMULA ALLIONII  X 'JOAN HUGHES'. IT LOOKS BIG, BUT USE THE SPRUCE NEEDLES FOR SCALE
As many of you know, I adore alpine plants, and some of my favorites are the Primroses ( Primula) which grow near the highest peaks of the world. Here are a few of the highest elevation primula, which happen to be our first blooming primula of the season - much more to come. These are being grown in stone troughs, and in crevice gardens, where the tight spaces allow the primula's roots to grow deep in search of water. Primula allionii blooms very early in the Alps in France and north western Italy, where it grows on steep cliffs where it is protected. Hard to reach, these tiny primroses can grow in the tightest of crevices. There are many named forms and selections of P. allionii, and in England, a plant grown in a cold alpine house with care, can be covered completely with flowers so thickly, that you cannot see the foliage ( see one here). In North America, we are lucky if we get 5 or 6 flowers, which are still beautiful, especially this early in the year.
Look for plants at Wrightman Alpines and Arrowhead Alpines.
PRIMULA MARGINATA, A HIGH ELEVATION PRIMROSE, WITH SERRATED LEAVES AND VIOLET FLOWERS.

Primula marginata have beautiful leave, they really don't need to bloom at all, for many varieties have farina ( white powder) on their leaves, which makes the outlines more attractive, and if the rain doesn't wash it off, the entire plant can look silver. I have plants that I am grooming for a primula exhibition in two weeks, and I am keeping them under glass outdoors, so that the rain won't wash off the farina.
PRIMULA MARGINATA, GROWING IN A CZECH STYLE CREVICE GARDEN, WHICH MEANS ROCKS VERTICALLY PLACED CLOSE TO EACH OTHER LIKE A SANDWICH.

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