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` Primula 'Vivid'
Primula 'Vivid'
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Put on your sunglasses kids, and get ready for a really cool or should I say "hot" addition to the front of that warm border.  While I'm not usually on the lookout for flowers in this color range,  I couldn't help but be astounded by the brilliance of this selection that arose spontaneously out of my breeding work with the x polyanthus primroses.  This serendipitous discovery took place in the midst of my desire to produce a copper colored flower,  a project that's still ongoing,  but more about that in the future.  OK,  you want a sneak preview of where we are on this project? Go to: perkettle-l.jpg

Perhaps you don't know about the Primula x polyantha,  "The Polyanthus Primroses" ???. They're a supposedly naturally occurring hybrid between Primula veris,  the "Cowslip",   Primula vulgaris,  the "English Primrose" and Primula elatior,  the "Oxslip",   that has been cultivated since about the 18th century. The x before the name signifies that it is an "interspecific" cross,  or simply put,  a cross between two or more species.  To be quite frank about it,  it really gets a lot more complicated than this,  but I'm getting a headache sorting out all of the fine details of botanical nomenclature and historical conjecture involved.  Let's just leave it at this for the moment and enjoy the flowers.

We owe a great deal of thanks for the diversity of these plants to a truly amazing woman,  Florence Bellis,  an unemployed concert pianist during the "Great Depression".  She lived in an old cow barn in Portland, Oregon in the1930's, with orange crates for tables and chairs, an old rusty cooking stove and two pianos. Legend has it that she spent her last $5.00 on four packs of  Polyanthus seeds from English seed company,  Suttons Seeds 1934 catalog,  and with  1,500 polyanthus seedlings,  created the "Barnhaven Primroses. Florence's skill at hand pollinating her polyanthus and selecting the best from her progeny led to the finest colors and forms available today.  Upon her retirement in the early 1960's,  she passed along the Barnhaven line to Jared and Sylvia Sinclair of England and when they retired in 1990,  Angela Bradford of Plouzelambre France took over the breeding work. 

Just the facts M'am:
Kingdom -
Phylum - Anthophyta
Class - Dicotyledonae
Order - Primulales
Family - Primulaceae
Genus - Primula
Species - x polyanthus
Cultivar - 'Vivid'
Common name genus - Primrose
Common name species - "Polyanthus Primrose"
Native of - Europe
Height - 3"-8"
USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 5 at least,  probably 4,  maybe 3
Light preference - Light shade in the North,  full in the South
Soil preference - Average to loamy
Moisture preference - Average to moist
Bloom time - Early Spring
Bloom color - Brilliant deep Magenta
Foliage - Medium to dark green
Spread - 8" - 12"
Uses - Front of the shady border
Medicinal uses - None that I know of,  how bout you?

A fantastic book about the Polyanthus Primrose was authored in 1963 by Roy Genders,  and although it's obviously out of print,  can usually be found used in bookstores . It goes deeply into detail about history,  breeding,  propagation and culture of the Polyanthus Primrose.

My friend,  Ken Alston,  an expatriated "Limey",  has a GREAT Primula website, .  Don't let the name Auricula fool you,  Ken is knowledgeable in the entire genus of Primulaceae and all of its sections. He has many different selections for sale and lots of resources.

The American Primrose Society was founded in 1941 and is one of the oldest American plant societies in existence. I have been a member for many years, and enjoy the colorful,  quarterly journals. Dues are only $20.00 per year and the seed exchange is fantastic.  You can visit the APS website at:

A complete set of back issues of "Glick Pick of the Week" is available for the asking. If you would like me to send them, or if you would like to first see the list, send me an email. Also, if you're getting more than one copy of this weekly mailing, or would like to subscribe a friend, or for some crazy reason, to unsubscribe, let me know.

2000 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208

Last modified February 25, 2020