Current Issue

 Vol 79, Issue No. 3 (Summer 2021)

Summer Quarterly 2021 (Vol 79 No. 3) read here

Contents

The View from Here by Elizabeth Lawson
House of Douglas by Maedythe Martin
Auricula & Root Aphid by April Boettgar
Omphalogramma by Panayoti Kelaidis
Garden Visits by Susan Haddock
Reasons to Get Dirty by Jane Guild
Pins + Thrums
Primula Blogs
Minutes November 22, 2020
New Members
Officers of the Chapters

The View from Here

by ELIZABETH LAWSON

As I work in my garden on the eve of the Summer Solstice I have been noticing how primroses change as they prepare to set seed. The leaves yellow and become raggedy, and they are larger and tougher. And some… have… been… eaten… to the nub. This was a shock. We have had generations of groundhogs over the years, but they never ate primroses. They were somewhat deterred by my Belgian shepherd, but she died three years ago. Groundhogs are notorious for loving campanulas, but primroses? This is a sad event. It seems to be a groundhog so we have hired a trapper at considerable expense.

I have never thought of gardening as fun, but rather a necessity. It’s intense, challenging, humbling, compelling, and sometimes disheartening. But nevertheless, one continues for the happy moments. What has given me great pleasure this year is trading primroses for snowdrops with a friend. This has made me tackle the matter of dividing primroses, which I often put off. I do not intend to become a hard-core galanthophile because I am committed elsewhere (is there a more pleasing word for Primula lovers than primulophile?). However, it is an ongoing effort on my part to find the right companions for my primroses. Some are needed for interest and contrast in spring and others for shade in summer. My snowdrop friend lent me The Galanthophiles by Jane Kilpatrick. She is also the author of Fathers of Botany: The Discovery of Chinese Plants by European Missionaries, which describes the introduction of many primroses. Both are marvelous books. The description of The Galanthophiles on Amazon includes this sentence: “It tells the stories of the most important individuals whose fascination with every aspect of the genus Galanthus ensured the survival of so many of the snowdrops we grow today.” This is my segue into the statement that all members of the American Primrose Society are important individuals who contribute to keeping a diversity of Primula in cultivation.

Summer may seem like the end of the primrose season, but there is plenty to do in the way of dividing plants, perhaps to trade or give to a friend and harvesting seed. I am currently watching for seed maturation in a young plant of the very beautiful ‘Late Snow’ Primula sieboldii. Right now the ovary is a tiny round, green sphere, about 3-4 mm in diameter, set in a ring of five star-like sepals. The seeds will be practically invisible. I know this because I recently sowed a packet of “sieboldii mix” seed from the APS seed exchange and have two seedlings as of now. They are very small, the distance from the tip of one seed leaf to the other being 2 mm. I feel fortunate to be sowing and harvesting at the same time. While galanthophiles may have received particular media attention, Primula lovers are equally gripped with a “fascination” for the genus.

In order to support and encourage this fascination in ways both practical and otherwise, the Society is on a quest to keep membership strong. We, meaning APS’s web tech Jane Guild and Webmaster Jon Kawaguchi, have tried to make renewal easy by developing a 365-day computerized renewal system so one can join at any time and renew on that date the following year. Please help in any way that you can by renewing promptly, encouraging a friend to join, or contributing a story to the quarterly about how your fascination with Primula began. Each person’s story adds to the history of Primula.