In contrast to the legendary elegance and brilliance of the wholly European ancestry of the Auricula, the Society’s schedules for its three Spring Shows also accommodate many delightful Primula species and hybrids from around the world, i.e. not only from Europe but also from Asia, North and South America and the Middle East, effectively a galaxy of choice plants reflecting a wide spectrum of forms awaiting the enthusiast.
Some present a distinct but fascinating challenge to the grower, ranging from diminutive high alpine jewels to our own more easily managed British natives and their many derivatives – some from the mists of Tudor times, but all with delightful, engaging personalities. As with the Auriculas many of the ‘other Primulas’ provide opportunities for keen growers to carry out their own hybridization to raise new varieties.
THE GOLD LACED POLYANTHUS – ANOTHER FLORISTS’ FLOWER
Our Society began life devoted to the Auricula, and another particular Florists’ flower – the Gold Laced Polyanthus. Increasingly scarce, this is nothing like many of the big, blowsy polyanthus we see everywhere.
Along with the Florists’ Auricula, the Gold Laced Polyanthus is stunning and delicate, and we still try to produce the perfect truss of flowers according to a set of standards laid down in the mid-1700s.
Ideally, each individual flower ‘pip’ should be no larger than a one pence piece. Each velvety petal should be dark or bright red, and evenly laced with the same colour as the centre.
According to Chris Wood, who has grown and shown Gold Laced Polyanthus for some thirty years, “The good news is that the plants are generally healthy, given good cultivation.
It is possible to grow them outside all year round in a bed enriched with organic material which will help retain moisture. The bed should face north or north-west and be protected from strong sunlight in summer.”
If exhibiting our GLPs or growing to a high standard, we keep them in pots with some protection from the weather, and after flowering place in a cool place where they will not dry out.
You can find further details of how to look after your Gold Laced Polyanthus on the Cultivation page of this site.
Chris Wood has produced an excellent and comprehensive hand book on growing them which is available from the Midlands and West Section of the NAPS.
Images Left to right: Red Ground, Gold Laced Polyanthus, Dark Ground