Matt black flowers can sometimes be lost in a garden, but the silver lacing tracing the edges of the petals of this polyanthus – and the cheerful, golden yellow centres – are unlikely to be overlooked.
I often see mahogany coloured primroses with gold edges in local gardens, but the black and silver ones are less common. This specimen was part of a wonderful collection of plants my Mother and I were admiring at Bridgemere Nursery and Garden yesterday.
The old world charm of silver laced and gold laced polyanthus type primroses makes them perfectly at home in traditional cottage gardens. In a nod to their relatively long, sturdy stems and pretty clusters of blooms, they are sometimes called florists’ primroses. They are bee-friendly, providing welcome food for bees venturing out early in the season.
Primulas prefer that elusive, humus-rich soil: the type that is well-drained but doesn’t ever completely dry out. Breeders have developed seed strains of the laced types that should come true. An established clump is easy to propagate by splitting, which will help it thrive.
Primulas have long been collected and shown in England by amateurs who competed for prizes, often copper kettles, which would be hung outside public houses to advertise a competition.