H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Primula Marginata - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Primula Marginata Described.
Primula Marginata - Syn. P. Crenata; Margined Primrose; Nat. Ord. Primulaceæ.
A native of Switzerland, so rich in alpine flowers; this is but a small species, yet very distinct and conspicuous. As its specific name denotes, its foliage has a bold margin, as if stitched with white silken thread, and the whole plant is thickly covered with a mealy substance. So distinct in these respects is this lovely species that, with, perhaps, one exception, it may easily be identified from all others, P. auricula marginata being the one that most resembles it, that species also being edged and densely covered with farina, but its foliage is larger, not toothed, and its flowers yellow.
P. marginata has bright but light violet flowers on very short scapes, seldom more than 3in. high; these and the calyx also are very mealy. The little leaves are of various shapes, and distinctly toothed, being about the size of the bowl of a dessert spoon. They are neatly arranged in tufts on a short footstalk, which becomes surrounded with young growths, all as clear in their markings as the parent plant, so that a well grown specimen of three years or even less becomes a beautiful object, whether it is on rockwork or in a cold frame.
The flowers are produced and remain in good form for two or three weeks on strong plants, and for nearly the whole year the plant is otherwise attractive.
I scarcely need mention that such plants with mealy and downy foliage are all the better for being sheltered from wind and rain. In a crevice, overhung by a big stone, but where the rockwork is so constructed that plenty of moisture is naturally received, a specimen has done very well indeed, besides keeping its foliage dry and perfect. When such positions can either be found or made, they appear to answer even better than frames, as alpine species cannot endure a stagnant atmosphere, which is the too common lot of frame subjects. It is not very particular as to soil or situation. I grow it both in shade and fully exposed to the midday sun of summer, and, though a healthy specimen is grown in loam, I find others to do better in leaf mould mixed with grit and pebbles. It enjoys a rare immunity—the slugs let it alone, or at least my slugs do, for it is said that different tribes or colonies have different tastes. To propagate it, the little offsets about the footstalk should be cut off with a sharp knife when the parent plant has finished flowering; they will mostly be found to have nice long roots. Plant in leaf soil and grit, and keep them shaded for a month.
Flowering period, March to May.
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