Hidden in Plain Sight: Primrose Hearts

Common primrose | Primula vulgaris

When I saw these common primroses hidden under a shrub in the gardens at Bridgemere Garden Centre yesterday, I marvelled that each petal is a heart. They looked so dainty and exquisite that I wondered if I was looking at one of the latest new cultivars.

I’d been admiring the Victorian-style, gold and silver lace primulas and some ruffled, rose-like doubles on the garden centre benches just a few minutes earlier – and, I confess, wrinkling my nose at a couple of the less dainty cultivars that are being offered this season.

Checking online, I see that every common primula (Primula vulgaris) has heart-shaped petals. How could I have forgotten in just a few months? 

Human plant breeders tend to experiment along similar lines, giving us variations on a theme: a broader colour palette; different flower forms; extra petals or fancier sepals; stripes and edges; larger or smaller flowers.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m fascinated by the work breeders do. The desire to change the world is part of what makes us human. But I wonder if it would occur to any breeder to set out to turn every petal of their best-beloved flower into a heart?

I’m linking this post to Cee’s Flower Of The Day. Today she’s celebrating Peonies and Irises, two of my favourite cottage garden plants.

15 Replies to “Hidden in Plain Sight: Primrose Hearts”

  1. Love, love, love primroses of any kind, but had never notice the heart shape! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. As much as I love my new potager, I miss my little Cottage and its garden. Those old-fashioned flowers just touch the heart.

  2. Thanks for making me take a closer look at these little beauties with their heart-shaped petals..

  3. Fabulous aren’t they. Such a welcome sight. Maybe it’s because they appear so early in the year. Or they are just perfect simplicity. Less is more.

    1. It must be lovely to have them self seeding. It’s a pity they are not quite as common in the wild these days as the name might suggest.

  4. “Common”? Not a chance! Isn’t is wonderful what we find under and beneath? It has something of a frothy look all together, and I’m glad you did the work of looking closely — I’d never have noticed the petal hearts. Thank you many times for the link to the irises and peonies; I nearly fell off my chair. I’ve never met an iris that didn’t take my breath away; the combination with peonies is magical. Thank you!

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