I have distant memories of standing in my Grandparent's garden among a carpet of softly perfumed flowers with colours like a magical Persian carpet. I wanted a colourful carpet of Polyanthus just like that, not the short stemmed solid coloured flowers of municipal park bedding schemes, but a loose heads of soft yellow eyed blooms on tall stems – just right for picking and displaying in chunky ceramic jugs in the house.
Then I discovered Barnhaven Primroses – these were the Polyanthus I'd been searching for, The 'Silver Dollar' strains developed by Florence Bellis must have been the seeds my Gran sowed to grow her plants. The collection of gorgeous Primroses, Polyanthus and Auriculas relocated to Brittany in 1990 but it's easy to buy seed from them via their web site; I'll warn you – it's like visiting a hand-made chocolate shop! How do you choose between the colour collections? 'Desert Sunset' 'Grand Canyon' 'Violet Victorians' 'Striped Victorians' . . .
The photograph shows some of my favourite colours, picked this lunch time – I particularly like the deep velvety ginger-brown shade (Henry VIII's doublet colour) alongside the deep salmon pinks.