PRIMROSES

THE common primrose (Primula vulgaris) of our hedgerows and woodlands is a fine garden plant in its own right when planted in the right place. It flourishes in the partial shade of trees and shrubs, in orchards, on sunny banks, by the margins of streams, in the wild garden. And in many other informal places. It prefers a moist, leafy soil -but is not really fussy and will, in fact, grow in any kind of soil including those that contain chalk. It flowers over a very long period. In sheltered gardens in the south it may be in flower well before Christmas and has been known to be in full flower as early as late summer and to go on flowering until late spring.

Although the ordinary primroses will do well in any kind of soil, even quite poor ones, the double kinds only thrive properly if they are grown in really rich soil. So, when planting these, do try to add a little farmyard rrianure to the planting soil, and if you can spare a little each year to put around these double primroses in late winter, you will find that they will respond much better. If you can’t get hold of this scarce commodity then use well-made garden compost and leafmould when planting and for top-dressing later,

All these primroses and primrose relations may be planted in the autumn or early spring. If they are used for bedding purposes they should be dug up after they have finished flowering, pulled apart into smaller pieces and then replanted in a shady, out-of-the-way bed until the autumn, when they may be replanted in the spring bedding scheme. If they are not used for bedding then they may be left alone for several years to make large clumps. But eventually the clumps become too large and fail to flower properly. Then they should be dug up, pulled apart into smaller pieces and replanted in well-cultivated, rich soil.

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