Potted Delights

Tulipa Turkestanica
Tulipa Turkestanica

Any one who reads this blog regularly will know that I have a new interest in alpines which really means I have lots of small pots with dinky plants all over the place.  I do intend to plant some out in the garden in the future but am bulking them up first.  The trouble with alpines is that they only cost a couple of pounds to buy so are really quite irresistible and to make matters worse ast the Alpine Garden Society group I go to there are at least three nurserymen/women selling these delights – it really is hopeless.

This month’s purchase is the  tulip above.  I love all tulips but increasingly I find myself drawn to the species varieties – they are so just so beautiful.  I couldn’t resist the pot above and it is now gracing my patio table, opening its flowers when the sun shines.

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Above is my absolute favourite plant at the moment.  It is an auricula which I grew from seed in 2011.  I was given the seeds by my son’s work colleague and all I knew were that they were some form of auricula seeds.  I have probably eight dotted around in the greenhouse and cold frames.  This is the first one to flower and the first time I can see what the flower is like.  I am presuming the rest will be the same but who knows.  I find the petals quite fascinating, they remind me of a fine crepe.

Primula 'Aire Mist'
Primula ‘Aire Mist’

This is another one of my new acquisition and is another obvious sign of my Primula obsession.  One of the primula gurus on the Scottish Rock Garden Forum has told me that this is a cross made by breeder Peter Lister between a white form of Primula allionii and Primula auricula ‘Blairside Yellow’.  This plant encapsulates everything I love about horticulture at the moment – discovering new plants, encountering new people who are very generous with their knowledge and dreaming of being able to breed primulas like this in the future.

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m mad about species tulips too. Planted lots and lots of T. turkestanica, T. biflora and T. clusiana as well as two (yes, the last ones they had in stock) of my favourite Tulipa sprengeri. They are all so beautiful, long-lasting and quite a few have more than one flower to a stem – delight!

  2. Pauline says:

    Love your selection of plants, I think the species tulips are so beautiful, much more dainty than the normal garden varieties. I once had an auricula like yours, it lasted for a good number of years but I haven’t seen it for a while now unfortunately. My garden is more suited to the primroses that like wet, heavy clay!!

  3. Cathy says:

    I had to smile when I saw your first picture, Helen, as a few days ago I was puzzling over this plant in my garden but Annette knew what it was straight away and now so do I! I love species tulips too but had forgotten I had this one. Your auricula and primroses are delightful so thanks for sharing them – they are clearly giving you a lot of pleasure.

  4. VP says:

    Helen – why wait, have a go at breeding some primulas now 🙂 It’ll be fascinating to see how you get on.

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    A lovely addiction!

  6. djdfr says:

    I enjoy primulas also. I have a blue one that was in a window box, it looked so pretty that I painted it, then it had to go out in the garden as it needed more room.

  7. Anna says:

    I can understand how your current favourite has achieved its status Helen – such a striking colour and you also had the great satisfaction of growing it yourself from seed. I wonder what its siblings will reveal when they open their flowers. Do let us know.

  8. I love Tulipa turkestanica, and also many other species tulips. I find them much easier to work with than the hybrid tulips. I also like their wildflower-like look.

  9. rogerbrook says:

    I like the way species tulips come back stronger every year and many seed themselves profusely.
    Slugs seem to be less of a problem than on the hybrid tulips.

  10. I agree that it is hard not to be drawn to the nursery to find new specimens to add to the collection of any new fancy. I know that when I go through these periods there are threats from family members to contact the local nurseries to warn them that I am not allowed on their premises without adult supervision or at a minimum a sponsor.

  11. I grow the little tulip when the deer don’t eat it. I adore that second flower.

  12. Jane Scorer says:

    The Auriculas are fabulous! Were they easy to grow from seed ? They are something I have never tried but would like to, and then present them in an Auricula Theatre, as they used to in Victorian times.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jane
      They were as easy as all primulas are from seed. I have fresh seed from someone and I think that helps, its just a case of sowing them, not covering the seed and popping them somewhere safe outside. I have a fancy for an Auricula Theatre too

  13. Thanks for your comment on my blog. That auricula is a wee beauty!! We are beginning an addiction together 🙂

  14. janegerow says:

    gorgeous pictures!

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