Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Primula Overture

Primula, its name tells us that it is 'the first', the first to flower in Spring; never has this been more true than than in this year's long awaited Spring. The icy wind from the North Sea was replaced by the warm South-Westerly and the Primroses in our garden rejoiced!

The Brimstone and Comma Butterflies danced over the carpet of Primroses and Violets, a few bees joined in too . . . I wonder what kind of been this is? I love its ginger fur.
btw Twitter has helped me ID this bee as a Common Carder Bumblebee, most likely a young Queen who had survived the winter and will now start a new colony . . . isn't that wonderful!

A few years ago I planted lots of Victorian Polyanthus that I'd grown from seed, these have hybridised with the wild Primroses, at first I thought of weeding out the coloured primroses but there are so many, so we let them mingle.

Last year I was visiting a local 'open garden' when I spotted two little Auricula plants that were left on a plant stall, so I bought them. When they flowered I discovered one pot had two different plants in it, so I carefully potted them up separately. I was now hooked, Auriculas have that effect on people. They are related to Primroses and Polyanthus, but they need a bit more tlc . . . never too hot and not too cold; not too dry but never too wet. If you treat them right they reward you with exquisite flowers . . . like this

I bought three more Auriclas this year, mine are 'just' Garden Auriculas, not the special named varieties, I could plant them in the garden but I think they look more special grown individually in old terracotta pots. I'll divide them to make more plants when this year's flowers have faded - and so I know which plant is which I've given them names. More photos of my small collection here on Pinterest.

Auriculas seem to be the flower of the moment, I wonder why? The history of Auriculas in England is closely linked to the Huguenot silk weavers and it is this story which is told in a beautiful collection of songs, the Auricula Suite I discovered this in a chance conversation with one of my customers - she is one of the musicians.
There is more about Auriculas and the Huguenots on the Spitalfield Life blog, including pictures of a rather lovely Auricula Theatre made from one of those wooden arbour seats that you see for sale in garden centres – now that's a clever idea!



  1. The primroses rejoiced? Didn't we all!
    Happy Spring :-)

  2. Auriculas are beautiful but won't live with me, they simply fade away. Your hybridised Primulas as rather lovely colours, I would have kept them too.

    Another fan of Spitalfields Life! Isn't is lovely?

    I hadn't realised that you were on Pinterest - I have become a faithful follower!

  3. I absolutely love auriculas but they never seem to stay with me for longer than a year - apart from this year! I kept them in a pot and glory be they have survived! Looking forward to them flowering soon x Jane

  4. Thanks for the Auricula links, I never knew about the suite - one of mine is just the same colour as your lovely one here and how right you are about the addiction bit! Great to see the bee too.

  5. I have learned to love auriculas this spring too when I had the same experience of buying one plant and finding two different plants flowered in it.
    I love the idea of the theatre and you have inspired me to start a collection. They are like icing sugar flowers, aren't they?

  6. Thanks Celia, we are ready for our Auricula Suite album launch this evening at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire, a long way from Suffolk, but would love to meet any auricula devotees in the area there, so thanks for the mention. http://auriculasuite.net/

    Love your pinterest descriptions btw! :) Lou

  7. Lovely spring pictures....my garden is finally waking up, so are the weeds!!! :) x

  8. Thank you Celia, for the close up views of some of my favorite flowers. I can never see too many primulas or auriculas! Their colors and various graphic design qualities always grab my attention.

    I think you know that I'm another Spitalfields Life fan. I definitely remember the post about the auricula theatre. Pretty spectacular to see that line up, but I also like the opportunity to gaze intently on just one plant.

    Once again, you've made me long for a garden! xo

  9. Everything is arriving at top speed now. Each day reveals something new including, as Vintage Sheet Addict mentioned, the dreaded weeds.

  10. Seeing the first bees of the season makes me happier than hearing the first robins :) Lovely flowers!

  11. I love how the polyanthus and the primroses have hybridised. I'm definitely on the look out for auriculas to buy this year after ssing yours!

  12. Don't you just love Spring and watching Mother Nature wake up from a winter's nap! It's finally starting to warm up in Massachusetts and we've been in the garden cleaning the beds and raking everything out!

    Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful flower, Auriculas - I hope to find it in my garden center!

    Have a great day.

  13. At the risk of showing my age I remember the late Geoff Hamilton building a beautiful auricula theatre in a series called Paradise Gardens. I love them but they don't like it here, unlike the primroses which have suddenly blossomed into life. The banks are covered with them and I can begin to believe Spring is here!

  14. I love primroses and can never have enough. I also love auriculas. So far I have resisted their charms but I am wavering.


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