Thursday, May 24, 2012

Redfield Primroses

Day 126
The Daily DuBrule

I will never forget my visit to the Redfield brothers' gardens. It was in early May and the hillsides were carpeted with Phlox stolonifera. All kinds of wildflowers were popping up everywhere. There was a large rock garden with plants I had never seen before. It was inspirational.

The Japanese primroses that they are famous for weren't in bloom yet, but after seeing their garden, I knew they too would be very special. I bought them in 3" pots and started encouraging customers to plant them in wet, shady spots. The results were stunning.

These primroses are in bloom in my garden right now. I finally live in a house where heavy, wet clay soil is the norm. I planted a few of the 'Redfield Hybrid' Primula japonicas at the base of a large winterberry. It basks in the afternoon shade of a nearby maple. They are at home and self seeding as expected.
The trick with these and all primroses is to divide them regularly. Then, look for babies-there will be plenty. Move them to where you want them and the following year they will bloom. I remember fondly the day that my friend Carol came into Natureworks on a busy Saturday morning in May and said "if you don't come up to my house this weekend, you will miss the show!". Carol happens to live right up the street from the shop and her garden is a gem. I had just finished my Saturday morning walk and I looked around and then hopped into her car. Like a couple of crazy teenagers on a joy ride, I escaped to her yard for 15 minutes to see her plants in full bloom. It was worth it! The funniest part of this tale is that when I returned to Natureworks, my staff was relieved. They couldn't imagine where I had gone and were worried about me!

Carol's wet, woodland garden ablaze with thousands of 'Redfield Hybrid' Japanese primroses has inspired me to plant these easy care perennials in many more gardens. For many years, I enjoyed them along a stream in a Guilford property, one of the most beautiful woodland gardens I have ever had the honor to work on. I hope the new owner of this property knows what she has inherited and doesn't weed out all the babies of these primroses that took so long to establish. 

1 comment:

  1. That color!! Gorgeous! (I have a white one, flowering it's head off currently.)