Spring Great Plants this Month

Primula ‘Dark Rosaleen’

image of Louise Sims
Louise Sims

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.

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

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.

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 …

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