Primula kisoana

Fast forward because already I need a little springtime. Here it is only late November and I’m clawing at the windows chafing for some semblance of growth in the garden. Not that the houseplants aren’t entertaining — but still, November doesn’t deliver color, indoors or outside. (Granted, the Senecio ‘Blazin’ Glory’ is still happening, but that’s about it for blossoms on the windowsill.) So dreams of primroses are dancing before my eyes.

If you’ve tried and failed with primroses, then you haven’t met Primula kisoana yet. These photos were taken on April 17th and that’s just when you need a dollop of scarlet in your life. And that’s exactly what P. kisoana delivers. And we’re talking reliable — despite last year’s floods, nothing could dissuade these fuzzy-leaved little primroses from sending up their courageously colorful flowers. Outspoken, that’s how I’d classify the shade. But it’s the kind of color you spy from a distance. We like that in a flower, right? The performance continues for several weeks until the flowers slowly fade into pink. Then, by midsummer, this Japanese species goes underground. Completely dormant until the next spring. No worries about whether it will brave summer droughts — this little primrose sleeps through it all.

Of course it likes shade. But here’s the clincher — most of my primroses are living happily ever after under a black walnut tree! Besides the epimediums, not many perennials survive the walnut toxins without a whimper.

If you know of a source, pass it along to me. Mine came from Sydney Eddison. Nobody leaves Sydney’s garden empty handed. And primroses are one of her favorite gifts to bestow.

There’s an ‘Alba’ form. Explain to me = what’s the point? When you’ve got something that’s radiant, brilliant, and wonderful — why strip it of its glory?

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