Current Issue

 Vol 78, Issue No. 1 (Winter 2020)

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The View from Here by Elizabeth Lawson
National Show Schedule
New England Show Schedule
Vintage Bits
Trekking & Learning about Asiatic Primulas by Claire Cockcroft
Something You May Not Know About Primula kisoana by Jay Lunn
Species Primula and the Lazy Propagator by Tim Chipchar
Dodecatheon dentatum by Robin Hansen
2020 Spring Elections
Minutes September 15, 2019
New Members
Officers of the Chapters


The View from Here

by Elizabeth Lawson

In Ithaca, New York, as I write in mid-January, there are primroses blooming in my garden, mostly Primula ‘Yellow Wanda,’ which I planted late in the fall—they were orphans that had not sold at my husband’s garden center. I am happy to examine them closely at this time of the year. The flowers when half open look like fluted vases and I marvel at their “laser-cut” petals to use the words of poet Ted Hughes. Temperatures were in the 60s last week and tonight the forecast is for 5–10 degrees. I am always amazed at the ability of primroses to flower at a moment’s notice and then quickly re-adopt the waiting game as needed. Their resilience may be one of their greatest attractions.

At this time of the year, there are several important reminders to review. Hopefully, everyone has renewed their membership and has visited or plans to visit the Seed Exchange List on the APS website (also available as a printed form from Amy Olmsted, 421 Birch Road, Hubbardton, VT 05733). In dipping into the APS 2005 publication Alice Hills Baylor and Primroses for Eastern Gardens, I found this statement by Alice: “There is great pleasure in growing plants from seed. It is also a way of enjoying gardening for a longer period of the year. One can observe growth and become expert in knowing what is needed if the seedlings are not growing properly.” Her point about learning from observation of growth day by day is important. She was a proponent of using fluorescent lights for the process, which I have also found a successful method.

It is a thrilling moment to go into the basement to visit the fluorescent light stand and see the first bright green signs of germination. Henry David Thoreau in his posthumous work Faith in a Seed wrote: “Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” In other words, one has to find seed and sow them. We are fortunate the Seed Exchange is at hand.

It is also time to thank those who have kept the society together under proper board protocol as required for a registered society.  First, of course, Rhondda and Michael Plumb. Rhondda stepped down in May as President. She graciously offered complete support to me and fortunately, she still attends board meetings, which provides continuity.  Michael has now stepped off the board after serving the society as a volunteer in many positions for many years– as Webmaster, Secretary,  and more. Thank you, Michael! The society owes you a huge debt of gratitude. Jon Kawaguchi, who has served mightily as Treasurer, will continue to do so, but has also agreed to take on the Webmaster position. We are very fortunate.

And I am grateful for APS’ new Secretary Dean Wiegert. As the newest members of the board, we consult frequently about what we have yet to learn, and he pursues the answers patiently and politely. Please read his carefully written Minutes at the end of each issue. I must confess I never read minutes before I was on the board. Now I find them very interesting! Also, take note of the chapter reports. They describe primrose activities in various parts of the country. In this issue I am looking forward as well to reading Jay Lunn’s article on P. kisoana, so lovely with its downy, soft green foliage. Some call it a “thug” but I think that is unfair. It reappears, and I am grateful.

And last but not least, please let us thank Maedythe Martin and Jane Guild for producing a new issue every quarter. It’s hard work. The quarterlies represent an invaluable archive of primrose lore and practical information, as well as the stories of the people who have dedicated much of their lives to primroses, which is important social and cultural history. Historians may even read the Minutes to study how plant societies survived in a difficult 21st century!