This cultivar, bred in the 1980s by an Irishman named Joe Kennedy, is a beautiful, strong growing, hardy primula, and having chosen it this week as my special plant, I wanted to find out where the name originated. I uncovered more than one explanation, but the one that fits for me was being named after the poem of the same title by James Clarence Mangan, written in 1846: a dark year in Irish history.
Being such a good doer, ‘Dark Rosaleen’ is the perfect primula for me because it doesn’t need cosseting. When I first bought it many years ago, worried that I might lose it, I grew it in a large pot.
Later that year I divided it up into several sturdy little plants which I then planted out the following spring into a narrow semi-shaded border where they sit happily with Pulmonaria ‘Opal’, Scilla siberica and many other early spring flowers. I am rewarded with a mass of long lasting, rich crimson flowers, with a pale pink stripe and a yellow central eye. The real bonus is the dark green foliage flushed with burgundy which is the perfect foil for the flowers … magic.
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One reply on “Primula ‘Dark Rosaleen’”
Hello You Three, I cannot believe that I have not discovered your blog before. I am a friend of Billy Carruthers – have not seen him for a bit Covid and all that. But the updated information about Linn Botanic is a dream – have original book. Your plant choices tune in so well with me.
Obviously I have signed up and also done some shopping. It really is a curious experience as I feel I know you all. Srange …