May 5, 2014

PRIMROSES, WARBLERS AND GENERAL SPRINGYNESS

A LOVELY BRONZE AND COPPER COLORED DOUBLE AURICULA PRIMROSE GROWN BY JUDITH SELLERS AT THE NEW ENGLAND PRIMULA SHOW THIS PAST WEEKEND.

I think that I've arrived at the conclusion that plant society people ( they are indeed a 'type') always complain about the weather. This past weekend I attended both the Seven States Daffodil Show and the New England Primula Society exhibition - held  together at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden near my home in Boylston, MA. I am intimately involved with the primrose society, as many of you know, and, I do grow many greenhouse narcissus so the daffodil society is always on my radar (yes, I will join again someday, but not for a while - my pipeline for collecting plants is just maxed out, and I have to save SOMETHING for retirement).

Click below for more about the incredibly impressive primroses this year...



POLYANTHUS TYPES AND ACAULIS VARIETIES  BENCHED FOR JUDGING AT THE NEW ENGLAND PRIMROSE SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW HELD AT THE TOWER HILL BOTANIC GARDEN.
Our weather this weekend was windy, chilly and even stormy at times with rain, some thunder, and even hail - that is, in-between the 50 mph wind gusts and breaks in the clouds. A 'normal' spring day, by my standards here in New England, but the daffodil folk were complaining that they had fewer entries than last year, even though I reminded them that the year before that, they had to cancel due to no entries due to several days of 90º F temps. 

This did little to stifle the grumbling. Generally speaking, ALL plant societies grumble far too much anyway.  I will say that it was a stellar year for some primroses - especially the earlier species. In fact, as far as primroses go - -  it was not a bad year at all!  (although many will argue that it was a terrible terrible  season! - but for some reason, many of the plants entered from our garden won top prizes, so I dare say anything more. Perhaps - "Yes, it was a dreadful year for primula- not grown in our garden".

 And leave it at that.

Another of Judith Seller's double auricula's. Judith grows these in a special room she had constructed in the cellar of her round house in upstate New York. Large windows for natural light, and cool if unheated temps keep her plants in tip tip shape. 

As our slow spring continues,( 70º is still elusive!), at least the migrating birds have begun to arrive, with the first twitters coming from the woods this morning of Black and White warblers, Canada Warblers and a Yellow Warbler. Hopefully, I will be able to make some time to see these elusive migratory jewels of our woodland before the continue north to nest, but just hearing them gives me hope. With everything going on in the world, it's reassuring to know that Mom Nature continues to plow forward - with dozens of new species of birds migrating through our garden every day over the next few weeks. I also heard our first Flicker, a Carolina Wren, an Eastern Bluebird, a Redstart who chose to fight with a cardinal outside my bedroom window, and Kinglets - which I could only hear, but not see - so only guessing (they are so tiny, that they look like fat bumble bees high in the birch trees).

Is it just me? Or am I the only one who is so ready for spring this year? Bring it on.
There were fewer entries in some categories such as Polyanthus and Acaulis ( what most of us visualize when we close out eyes and imagine what a garden primrose may look like) but our cold, slow, and very 'British' spring did allow for more unusual varieties and species to make the benches.


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS CITRON COLORED DOUBLE AURICULA? SQUEEE!!!  'FOREST LEMON' HAS THAT UNIQUE MUSTARD GREEN COLOR WHICH IS SO STYLISH RIGHT NOW. THIS IS YOU PINTEREST POST FOR THE DAY, ANOTHER FROM JUDITH SELLERS, AND YES -- VOTED BEST IN SHOW.





I DIDN'T DO TOO POORLY MYSELF…PROUD TO HAVE WOND THIS CLASS OF A 'CONTAINER POTTED WITH 5 PRIMULA'.
ALL ARE RAISED FROM SEED, AND GROWN IN MY GARDEN. MOST PRIMROSES IN AMERICAN SHOWS ARE DUG FROM THE GARDEN, AND THEN ENTERED.

AND JOE WON FOR THIS DOUBLE ( HOSE-IN-HOSE) YELLOW THAT I DUG, POTTED AND ENTERED IN HIS NAME WITHOUT HIM KNOWING IT.
IT  'WON' THE 'ELAINE MALLOY PEWTER BOWL FOR - BEST GARDEN GROWN PLANT'.
 ELAINE WAS A OUR DEAR FRIEND OF OURS, AND ONE WHO ENCOURAGED US BOTH TO GROW PRIMROSES AND TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE  SOCIETY.



I has little time at home this weekend, but between breaks from the show, we each had to take time to take care of my father. This gave me a little time to drag a few large tubs out from the greenhouse, as it seems that frost may escape us this May ( fingers crossed). This large tub with calla lilies was the first to be dragged to the gravel court, and it's already beginning to show flower buds. The plant is almost as tall as I am. It comes from Strybing Arboretum and Botanic Garden in San Francisco, and it a particularly tall strain - around 6 feet tall.


After she blooms, we will be saying good bye to our large Magnolia, a yellow flowered variety called 'Goldfinch'. She will be cut down in a couple of weeks. It really hurts me to let her go, but she is too tall, and provides shade which is far too deep for any plant to survive under. Almost a casualty of a freak October blizzard 5 years ago, which split her in half, she has recovered, but only looks amazing for about one week in May.  It's always sad when one decides to cut down a favorite tree, but to make myself feel better, I ordered a new 'Goldfinch' and a couple other varieties to plant elsewhere in the garden. All's good.

The last of the Meyer Lemons. They will be picked now to allow flower buds to form for next years crop. I now keep two tubs like this, and they supply us with over 200 lemons a year. Plenty for tea, marmalade and for winter cocktails.




9 comments :

  1. as the brits say....your blog/growing is a "tonic"! congrats on those seed-grown primulas!!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Mlle Paradis…..you are always so sweet. Thanks!

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  2. There, I did it! During the last few weeks of off time at work I've scrolled through all and read through (most) of your posts dating back to March '06! I can't wait to keep reading your blog for years to come! I have a lot to learn! Hopefully my small-ish Dartmouth, MA garden can one day amount to something interesting!

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    1. Holy Cow, Alexandre! I'm so sorry that you had to read them all!!! Even I have not been able to do that. Really though, thanks for the words of encouragement. Now….if only I could make the time to go back and rewrite them all and catch all of the errors! Thanks for your dedication!

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  3. Wow, I envy the double mustard yellow aruricula and the bronze/copper one such a beauty. In our country auriculas are difficult to obtain, and there is not such a thing as a Primula society.

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  4. Anonymous2:14 AM

    disappointing shows overall I thought compared to previous years. not sure why but that was general vibe I got saturday. same thing with african violets. maybe the venue? do not know what to make of tower hill these days. maybe plant shows have had their day? don't know but something not working.

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  5. I hate to admit it, but I find all plant society shows disappointing lately. I can't imagine how the venue could ever change the fact that plant societies have fewer members, and fewer entries. I am convinced that most plant societies don't really want to change, and if they were totally honest, they would say that they just want it to be 1940 again (including me sometimes - but that is unrealistic. This position makes them even more protective of any ownership they have left and less willing to reach out and evolve. Few really want to be collaborative. I'll admit that this one venue isn't making it easy by establishing ground rules, basic contracts and fees for their space rental, but they have financial responsibilities too. A balance needs to be reached, but most every society who hold a show here has refused to either meet in the middle, or discuss changes - instead, they took a defensive position and either left with a huff, or refused to negotiate based on grounds of entitlement. So sad, really. The real issue is a far deeper problem than where a show is held. Even I - plant geek- find some societies either too uninviting, or too unwelcoming to join today - or more often than not, particular people with power within these groups make it too stressful to deal with - if these groups cannot be inviting to me - why would a novice approach and join? Plus - in many ways, Pinterest and Facebook may be replacing what plant societies offered. So you may be totlly right - plant shows may have had their day. That is, until more progressive societies and botanic gardens learn to evolve together. Hopefully, these are just growing pains.

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  6. Rodney10:55 AM

    I don't recall that our show was cacelled last year.

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  7. It wasn't, we were talking about the Daffodil show. Warm weather, early in the season eliminated any competition, and entries were few.

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