Sweet pinks: Primulas

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The colours of these primulas make me think of children’s sweets (candies if you’re in the US). Radiantly bright, they’re just the thing to make the still-cold days of late winter and early spring feel better.

Polyanthus primroses (AKA ‘English primroses’) like these have been bred to have a great range of brilliant colours. Garden centres have row upon row of them in gleaming reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, blues and purples. There are even striped flowers like this ‘Zebra Blue’.

Jolly as they are, it can be difficult to make these plants look at home in the more restrained borders of my garden. Gradually I’ve been trying for a more natural look to some areas, so the colours of highly-bred primroses can look too brash and artificial.

Rather than trying to find a place where they might look right in a border, I potted these up and parked them by our front door. They looked good in their pots but sadly they eventually suffered having their roots eaten by vine weevils! (Vine weevil grubs eat the roots of some plants that are grown in containers. Plants growing in the soil are much safer.)

It’s a couple of years since I lost these plants. I’ll probably try again with something that will fit the look of the garden better and can be planted in the ground. (Such as the UK’s pretty yellow native primrose, Primula vulgaris.) And then there’s the rich colours of the dainty ‘candelabra’ primulas which would be happy in the bog garden that I’m making…tempting!

Pink primula flower head