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Northumberland Diary Discussion: 17 February 2013

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Northumberland Diary. Entry 236.

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 28 February 2013, 11:31. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from Ken Curtis 22 February 2013, 14:18top / bottom of page

John, Thanks again for your continued dedication to this diary. I look forward to every entry and this weeks Primula megaseifolia certainly is a star. I was not familiar with this plant and find the unique foliage and stunning flowers a winning combination. Is it a very hardy species?

Contribution from John Richards 23 February 2013, 16:51top / bottom of page
Primula megaseifolia

Hi Ken,

Primula megaseifolia comes from the wet mountains of north-east Turkey where it is a forest plant at moderate altitudes. I think this tells us what it wants: shade, coolness and humidity during the summer (my garden exactly!), and a dislike of extreme cold in winter. In a 'normal' winter like this one it is fine on the floor of the unheated alpine house (i.e. down to about -8C), but in exceptional cold such as 2010-1, it lives in the conservatory during those spells (check it doesn't dry out!). The leaves are only produced once a year, immediately after flowering, so they look a bit tatty by now and one of the tricks for exhibition is to try to keep them in good condition for a year! (slugs like them!). Some exhibitors strip off the leaves now for shows which does not harm the plant, but makes it look rather naked!

Contribution from Tim Ingram 28 February 2013, 11:31top / bottom of page

There is a rather nice reference to yellow snowdrops back in 1953 in the Bulletin in 'A Year in My Alpine Garden' by Gwendolen Cadney. She writes about a visit to E. A. Bowles house for a talk on snowdrops (shades of 'Snowdrop lunches'), in early March. Within the library was a vast collection of botanical books, fine water colour drawings of Galanthus and a magnificent bowl of Iris stylosa blooms. A very civilised way to talk about plants. This reminds me of a similar visit to Chris Brickell's garden for a Crocus Group and snowdrop combined day - with no talk but wonderful hospitality, and what gardens are all about.

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