A few weeks ago, I had an e-mail from Stella Rankin at Kevock, asking for as many Inverewe as I could provide, since she had agreed to supply Nigel Dunnett for his show garden at Chelsea this year. The new growth on the primulas was scarcely through the ground at the time, but during the brief spell of dry weather we had, I managed to lift and split every clump here, and came up with 150 offshoots. Luckily, p.Inverewe clumps can be disentangled easily, unlike other of the candelabra tribe. I stuck the offshoots into liquid mud in groups of ten. Then the snow descended….
Picking the primulas back out of the icy mud was not a task to relish. But if they are going to be in flower for Chelsea, they are going to need warmth, and love. And they are not going to get much of either in the frozen wastes of Central Scotland. So I rushed them into Kevock, much as one rushes an urgent bag of blood plasma.
It takes a certain professional ability to see from the present to the future to be thrilled by a box of icy mud with a few green leaves sticking out of it. But Stella rose to occasion, and I got a hug for my pains.
Professional nurseries are bleak places in winter. Odd to think that in a few months, all these bare tables will be covered with flowering plants ready to be despatched southwards to London to give the crowds something to gasp at. Personally, I’ll sit back and admire my primulas on the TV at the Gardeners’ world Chelsea special. They look better in a proper garden, anyway.