Browsing through the seed packets at the garden store, I found Primula veris. I had read about primroses in English gardens so decided to try it, though it looked difficult. Two years later, I was enchanted. The plants grew vigorously, self-seeded, and helped to make spring cheerful and light. That was the beginning of an odyssey into understanding and growing this genus.
|A classic polyanthus. I call this one "Old Yellow".|
|Primula vulgaris "True Blue"|
Primula, by John Richards (Timber Press). Anyone who has become as obsessive as I have about primulas should have the book, which describes the history, distribution, and biology of the genus, as well as its taxonomy. There are also a selection of color plates. But for a really wide selection of pictures of primulas, see Pam Eveleigh's gallery of Primula species (she uses Richards' taxonomic scheme). As Richards makes clear, the overwhelming majority of primulas are from Asia, or as he puts it, "the eastern Sinohimalaya".
Having grown, loved and lost a number of primulas, I've come down finally to concentrating on those I know will have some staying power in my garden. They include my faithful Primula veris, the acaulis P. vulgaris types, P. juliae, and the endless varieties of polyanthus. But probably I'll always be tempted by another challenge to engage more primulas.
|This polyanthus is of the true "primrose" color.|
Note: this article follows another one on primulas, Primula Fever, which describes more primulas and their hybrids and has more pictures.