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Primula History

Did you know…

Did you know that Primulas in Elizabethan times were known as Auriculas? They are super cold-hardy plants resulting from the love affair between Primula auricula and Primula hirsuta. Their English popularity was due to Huguenot refugees who brought them with them from France. Striped and double auriculas were grown in 17thcentury gardens.(Heritage Gardening by Dr Judyth McLeod). In England they were so rare that many large estates set up an auricula theatre with a deadest stage, a curtain and seating! A flowering plant was brought from behind the curtain and placed on a structure for the audience to admire and applaud. The specimen was then taken away and a new one placed in front of the audience to great applause. At the end of the show the audience was invited to the wall to view the plants at close range. There are many of these theatres still existing in old gardens.(Keith McLeod). There is always an Auricula Theatre at the Chelsea Flower Show.


Text: Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross