Auriculas and old-fashioned primroses

Donald Davidson at Abriachan Nursery.

Few things are more exciting in March than finding the delicate yellow of a native primrose face upturned, towards the sun. It speaks of  hope.

Since the middle ages, gardeners have prized the many primroses that have developed from the native plant. The oldest are living antiques and today,  great new varieties are being bred. 

Full of old-fashioned charm, in the foreground Primula Perle von Bottrop and behind is Primula sibthorpii.

Primroses are hardy, undemanding plants, but they have some things they just cannot tolerate; dry and heat, so be careful where you plant them, or, move them into shade for summer as I do. And watch for the deadly vine weevil larvae…the best way to counteract them is by specialist nematodes that can be bought and watered on to the plants.

An old-fashioned double primrose – Primula lilacina plena known as the old quaker’s bonnet

When the Flemish weavers arrived in England in the 17th century they brought  with them collections of small plants, Primula auricula. Once you discover them, you’re hooked for life. No plant I know has their  jewel-like attraction. Singles and doubles, stripes and astounding green and grey flowers. All look as if they are tiny ball gowns, displaying in a Georgian ballroom.

Auricula ‘Sirius’ from auricula and primula specialists Abriachan Nurseries

At Abriachan we have a limited number this year for sale at the nursery and we’ll be showing them off in an ‘auricula display’ in April.

Meanwhile we have some lovely native primroses on display and for sale in March.

Hoorah. Spring is here!

  • Just inland from Inverness, Abriachan Nursery is open every day now until November. Selling quality, rare and unusual hardy plants they are well worth a visit. Plan your trip by visiting their website at

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

4 replies on “Auriculas and old-fashioned primroses”

Lovely to see Abriachan Garden featured in your blog. I live just a few miles from them and you have reminded me that it is time for another visit.

Hello Heather, Elaine and I are planning a trip up to visit Caroline in the Highlands this spring and Abriachan is top of our list for a visit – you’re so lucky to live within striking distance! Best wishes Laura

I’m with you on auriculas, Linda! It’s Elaine here, and I definitely find them too fussy and ‘exquisite’ for my taste, though Laura is potty about them. Give me the gentle old-fashioned primroses any day! Best wishes from all of us.

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