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Spring Great Plants this Month

Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii AGM

Sibthorp primrose

Louise Sims

This little beauty can be ignored no longer. It started coming into flower in early February, and every time I pass it, I think to myself what an absolute joy it is; not shouty but quite unmissable.

Despite its diminutive size – a scant ten centimetres high – it has proven robust, tolerant, and long lived, and over the summer months it disappears from sight underneath an umbrella of epimedium leaves: so much so that I forget it’s there and it’s almost a surprise to see the tiny new leaves emerging the following January. I’ve had it for years, the clump slowly increasing. I have read that it self-seeds but no such luck in our garden so this year I’m going to divide it after flowering. 

This little primrose is native to south-eastern Europe, where the flower colour varies.

‘Subsp.’ means a sub-species of our own native primrose, and ‘sibthorpii’ refers to the eighteenth-century Oxford botanist in whose honour it was named.

Lucky I remembered its name, and lucky it’s tough, because we have a new puppy in the household, and she is not only drawn to the cheerful little blooms (just the right height!) but her favourite game in the garden is pouncing upon and pulling out white plant labels. This could be the moment to switch to the black ones?

This primrose is tough, but is it tough enough to withstand Katya’s puppyhood? We’ll see!

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.

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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.

2 replies on “Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii AGM”

‘Shouty’ is such a good way to put it. My garden has a very shouty, loud yellow primula, probably an ex pot plant, inherited from the previous resident. It is bounndingly healthy and has been flowering twice a year in the most prominent position in the garden. I have just exiled it to a spot down near the potting shed where it can shout away to its heart’s content.

Elizabeth I love that you couldn’t actually dispose of your ‘shouty’ primula – just put it on the naughty step! Gardeners find it hard to be cold-hearted, don’t they. It’s Caroline here and in the Scottish Highlands I can’t get enough of shouty plants at this time of year. If said primula would remain pert throughout our current minus-3s at night, I’d offer to adopt it! Very best wishes to you XXXX

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