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.
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?
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!
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.