Why read back issues?

The following article gives some reasons for reading the back issues of the Quarterly.  These are located in our archives.

On My Library Shelf by Janet E. Henson

(This was originally printed in Quarterly Primroses, Vol.43, No.2, Spring 1985. Posted with the permission of the author.)

A treasure-trove of information blended with nostalgia may be found in past issues of the Primroses Quarterly. These slim volumes are a saga of the plants and the people who made our Society successful.

Early issues were heroic achievements, considering the small membership and wartime hardships. The first issues are now collectors’ items. They served to spark increasing interest in the genus, and Volume 3 reported a 60% membership gain in one year. Concurrently with increasing resources, both financial and human, the Quarterly blossomed. Florence Bellis served as the inspiration as well as the editor. The magic of her pen equalled the magic touch she used to create her world-famous Barnhaven strains. Detailed knowledge of species, often with excellent pictures, appeared regularly. Clearly, the seed was sown which was to become the incomparable “Pictorial Dictionary of the Cultivated Species of the Genus Primula” in Volume 25, No.3. This priceless issue has been unavailable for many years. However, most of its contents can be found in earlier issues. Volume 12, Nos.1 through 4, and Volume 13, Nos.3 and 4, will serve as an adequate substitute. Other excellent, if brief, references are “Notes on the Sections of the genus Primula,” Volume 4, No.4 and Volume 5, Nos.1 and 2.

For the less experienced member, several articles are valuable as introductions to understanding and appreciating the genus. Highly recommended is “A Primula Manual for New Members,” Volume 7, No.2, reprinted in Volume 17, No.1. “The Garden Primulas,” Volume 14, No.2 and 3, although a translation from German, contributes much information on many species in an easily readable fashion.

A most charming little book, “Concerning Primulas,” by Grace Dowling, is serialized in Volume 20, Nos.3 and 4, Volume 21, Nos.1 through 4, and Volume 22, Nos.1 through 3. Written for the average gardener, the book covers all groups of the genus and presents the reader with a delightful and beautifully illustrated account of plants and people involved with them.

Adventures and new discoveries are to be found in each issue. Truly outstanding is the scholarly work, “Seven Aspects of Color,” Volume 8, No.4, reprinted in Volume 32, No.2. Equally fascinating is “Primulas Seeds,” Volume 19, No.1. After seeing the magnified drawings of species seeds, we realize what an amazing genus is Primula!

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