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 thoughts on “Hidden in Plain Sight: Primrose Hearts

  1. carolee says:

    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. Laurie Graves says:

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

  3. rusty duck says:

    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.

    • susurrus says:

      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. Oddment says:

    “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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