May 5, 2010

Parrot Tulips

Parrot tulips have a special place in my heart, for I remember my sister showing me how to pick them from my mom's flower beds as a young child ( purple ones). Their feathery petals are so showy if not gaudy, but somehow they 'work' when seen outdoors, in spring. In catalogs, they appear too showy, but in the garden, for some reason, they are just right. Here, I picked some exceptionally bright ones, and placed them in a vintage flower show vase that I found on ebay ( being sold in England as a horse show trophy!). I love the hand painted type and the poison green color which was so common in the 1950's. It seemed like the perfect juxtaposition.

Vintage Pesticide Advertising Round Up

It's so safe and easy, that I can wear my white dress while I spray insecticide, to "get rid of any moving flies".

A couple of weeks ago, while searching through my collection of plant society journals (circa 1940 - 1960), and vintage 1950's and 1960's Horticulture magazines, I was struck by the number of pesticide ads ( and fertilizer ad's which I will save for another post). Here is just a sampling, with little comment from me - since I am working on making the final changes to the spring issue of Plant Society Magazine, which I plant to publish on Magcloud later next week.
Yo, you betta getta

May 2, 2010

American Primrose Society National Show Weekend

A Double mustard colored Auricula Primrose

This weekend, we attended the National Primrose Society National Show, which was hosted by our local Primrose Chapter, the New England Primula Society. With 3 days of dinners, hosting garden tours and a dinner/cockail party, we are wiped. I think I need a week off! Still, if was a wonderful show held at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden once again, and the weather could not have been nicer, even though it was a bit too warm! If you've ever wanted to see some spectacular primroses up close, this would have been the show to attend. For a year where the heat, and rain seemed to make it feel more like June than May, we were all pleasantly surprised to see a record number of entries this year, particularly in the classes that were dedicated to Auricula, perhaps the most beautiful of all flowers. Here are a few...
Some of my favorite primroses are the fancy edge show Auricula, so rarely seen in the United States, and rarely seen in many regional primrose society shows since the are challenging to grow in most North American climate areas, and often require some special attention such as an alpine house, a cold greenhouse, a cold frame or a sunken pit house. The white part of the flower, called 'farina' or paste, is a white, sticky substance which can be ruined by rain, or by careless watering. Auricula are one of the few flowers that can appear in green, or grey, or true black. In the nineteenth century, they were often displayed in elaborate Auricula theaters, displayed on shelves, often with velvet curtains, or painted backgrounds, so that one could view properly, but the plants could be presented with some protection from the elements.
The Grand Prize winning primrose was an Alpine Auricula grown by Maryanne Kuchel from Vermont. It seemed to sweep all of the major prizes, including best plant grown from seed.