The Himalayan cowslip

The garden plants I appreciate most have more than one virtue and no time-demanding whims. Primula florindae comes close to the top of the list: It flowers just when the garden needs colour (i.e. now); it is heavily scented; its fibrous root-mat is a great weed suppressant; it loves light shade, water, and mud, and seeds itself anywhere it can find these (which means just about everywhere in my garden). You can rip out plants that have got into the wrong place and literally stamp them into a piece of wet ground without bothering about digging a hole – and they’ll come away, no bother. Finally, it does well as a cut flower.

You can find most shades of colour from pale yellow through to deep red. The red forms are slightly less rampant and less fragrant than the yellows, and are apt to get shouldered out by their cousinsIn winter, when p.florindae completely dies  back, I always wish I had marked the best shades when they were in flower, so that I could move them around to form a kind of colour chart. But I never do, and on the whole I think I am just as happy with a random mix….

6 thoughts on “The Himalayan cowslip

  1. I love the peach colored edges on the yellow blossoms. Wish I could know the fragrance. They look just delightful along the water. It is a wonder to have something appear late in the season and be so grand.

    • Linnie, would they not do where you are? Provided they get some water – preferably where they can stick their roots into it, – plus a bit of shade from the hottest sun , they are remarkably unfussy. They flop a bit on the hottest days, even here, but recover overnight. I’ll send you a pack of seed if you want (or would the amazingly fussy US agriculture people object??)

  2. They’re beautiful! I’m making a boggy border later this year (calling it Soggy Bottom – oh the comedic heights) but it might be a bit sunny… maybe I can squeeze some in in the shade of the cornus shrubs. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • They are fine in sun provided they have water at their roots: The more sun, the more water they need… As I said to Linnie, they do occasionally flop on hot days, but there is no lasting damage.

  3. I think my garden is too hot and dry just to think I can TRY primulas. I miss them anyway, wild primroses in woodlands around here are in bloom in April, can’t imagine to see the in July!!!

    • No, they don’t like the heat……I don’t think you have a hope in Italy. Even Scotland can get too hot for some of the more delicate Himalayan types.

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