#031 Primula Auricula
'Larry' a gift from Lisa
I'm eagerly awaiting the flowers to open!
I don't usually get excited about pot-plants or alpines, but Auriculas are small treasures, like heirloom jewels – and like the tulip, they have a long history as 'florist flowers'. There is a fascinating blog-post here about the Huguenot families of Spitalfields in London and their love for these precious flowers.
Traditionally, Auriculas are displayed in an 'Auricula Theatre', this can be an elaborate contruction or just a simple shelf with a roof to keep off the rain (they don't like to get too wet or too hot). The 'Theatre' also allows the plants to be admired . . . like a collection of beautiful painted ceramics.
My Auriculas are displayed in an old wardrobe that has been painted dark slate grey inside and marbled on the doors. Each plant is potted in an old terracotta plant pot . . . the plants can then be arrange and re-arranged as they come into flower. It's part of the fun . . . like playing with toys!
When the flowers have faded the plants need to be kept in a shaded corner of the garden until winter, I then move mine onto a low shelf in our greenhouse until Spring when the flower buds start to appear. So I knew which plant was which, I gave my Auriculas descriptive names . . .
'Celia's Pinked Tudor Velvet'
'Celia's Damson Compote'
'Celia's Apricot Cream'
– very close to the wild Auricula, but with a slight pink tint to the reverse of the petals.
Then, yesterday Cliff and I just happened to go out for the day to the coast – we went to Dunwich where we had excellent Fish & Chips at the Flora Tearooms on the beach followed by doing this lovely walk (which I can thoroughly recommend if you are in the area). Well, I couldn't not call in to the famous Woottens of Wenhasten plant nursery, where they were holding their annual Auricula Day (oooops!).
There were lots of Auriculas on show – about 400 different ones! And most were for sale . . . it was a little bit overwhelming.
Of course I bought some –
just four . . .
'Sirbol' a gold centred Alpine Auricula
'Trafalgar Square' a silver edged Fancy Auricula
And these . . . the anticipation of waiting for the flowers to open, is all part of the fun
'Cuddles' another gold centred Alpine Auricula
and last but not least, one of the weird and wonderful 'Edges' . . .
I'm delighted with my new Auriculas (did you notice, I chose plants with small off-shoots that will be perfect to eventually split off to make new plants) and they'll be putting on a show in the theatre until late May.