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.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

100 Flower : #031 Auriculas

It is Easter Sunday, so how apt to celebrate with the Fabergé Egg of garden flowers . . .


#031 Primula Auricula

Auriculas  



If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will have noticed that I've been bitten by the Auricula bug! It all began last Spring (although I have been eyeing them from afar for many years) I bought two plants from a local 'open garden' plant stall. My excitement increased when I found one pot contained two different plants! I obtained more – just cheap seedling Border Auriculas from local nurseries. Then, at a plant fair I bought an Alpine Auricula named 'Sandra'. In the autumn another afflicted gardener gave me two of her plants . . .  you see, Auriculas are pretty easy to grow and the plants can be split to make more plants.


'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.


Happy Easter!

Celia
xx


33 comments:

  1. I have always had an admiration of ariculas too so thank you - you are living my desire here ;-)

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    1. You are welcome to come and take photos C x

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  2. One of my favourites too! happy Easter Celia.

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  3. You may have only chosen 4 (Ha Ha) but they are a lovely 4
    I fell in love with them a few years ago too, I have even found an embroidery pattern with them on but I don't think I will find the time to do that!
    Pasg Hapus x

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    1. Auriculas are so suited to embroidery designs - maybe in the winter you'll have time?

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  4. They're so pretty aren't they, and I do love to see them displayed in a theatre.

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    1. It's all part of the heritage, isn't it?!

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  5. I'm afraid Auriculas just don't do it for me. I think it's because they look too perfect; a caricature of a flower.

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    1. I can see what you mean, I think I like the history behind them and the beautiful jewell-like colours.

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  6. OH - they are so gorgeous!
    I really love the dark ones you got " Cuddles" and "Cornmeal" I have a passion for dark/black flowers of any kind!

    Carole

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    1. Yes the dark ones are beautiful, they maybe need a pale backdrop to show them off better.

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  7. What a great idea to use an old wardrobe to display your Auriculas. I love these little flowers & hope to start my own collection soon - perhaps a drive to Woottens would be a good place to start.

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    1. Set yourself a budget before you step into Woottens Auricula house or you may get carried away!

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  8. Celia, you've a varied and beautiful group of show-stoppers in that theatre. The theatre itself presents your growing collection of auriculas so very well.

    I love the names you are giving to the cast!

    xo

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    1. I'm trying to think of a way to celebrate Auriculas in some paintings or prints - they are so perfect in themselves it's hard to do them justice!

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  9. Oh, my goodness this is lovely! i am smitten!

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  10. We were admiring some pretty auriculas at Hidcote this afternoon, so your post is very apt. I love your wardrobe theatre - I hope your new additions will be very happy there!

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  11. I love your display, such fun! Beautiful flowers.

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    1. Yes fun! It's like having a dolls' house but with plants :-)

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  12. I like them too, they look spectacular in your theatre. At the RHS shows they always remind me of a painting when they are displayed on the black they are an under rated plant. I didn't realise they needed so much protection that's why they've never done well planted out in my garden. Oops! Thanks I've learnt something.

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    1. Forgotten in the mainstream but definitely not underrated by Auricula fans! I think it is possible to grow the Border Auriculas in the garden, but they don't like wet roots and the flowers easily spoil in the wind, rain and hot sun. The display is all part of the performance!

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  13. Love these, I always get caught in this section at a garden show but I never buy any! I think they have to be displayed just as you have and we haven't the space right now.
    You're on instagram? Me too - must search you out x

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    1. You could find a little area of wall in you back garden. And use it for succulents when the Auriculas are resting ;-)

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  14. They are very very beautiful and I totally understand your getting bitten by the bug. I am determined to resist. I have far too many scented leaved geraniums. What would become of me if I gave in to auriculas? I would never get inside.

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    1. My scented leaf geraniums move into the 'theatre' when the Auriculas have flowered and go for a rest ;-)

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  15. You bought only four! I call that restrained in the extreme. Speaking as a fellow plantaholic I could not have stopped there but those chosen are beautiful. I remember Geoff Hamilton building an auricula theatre on the old Cottage Garden series and thinking how lovely they were. He'd have loved your wardrobe full of them!

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    1. Yes I was very restrained! It would be easy to invest in a huge collection in one purchase, but Inhave actually got more pleasure from the un-named 3in1pot seedlings I've found in local nurseries. There's always next year

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  16. I adore Auriculars! And the fish and chips at Dunwich. We are very overdue a trip to Suffolk.

    Enjoy your beautiful flowers :)

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  17. They're beautiful Celia, I love how you display them x

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