|The theatre at Harlow Carr|
Nope! That's perfectly acceptable, if you're a bit obsessional about auriculas.
In my previous blog i touched on these beauties, gave you just one pic to tease you, truth be told i could wax lyrical about these little iced gems of the plant world for hours!
So now i shall!
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin....
On Friday i spoke to one of the Sissinghurst Gardeners, Josh '@joshsparkes01' on Twitter, he asked if id be joining them for Great Dixters upcoming spring plant fair 2016, we met up last year which was truly lovely as i hadn't seen most of them since the previous July and i got to see Lex, my old HG, & Jackie too who were helping out on the the walled nursery stall.
Both Helen '@aboutagarden' and I have a bit of a thing for auriculas (is it possible to have a BIT of a thing for them? ) and spent quite some time drooling along with Josh.
|Some of the nurseries i bought from|
This passing comment awakened my thoughts on how i love them and what drives that desire, i cant tell you when it started but i can tell you who my very first love was, she is gorgeous and i love her still. Delicate, she wears her petals full and frilly with just the very finest of dusting around her head and leaves. May i introduce you to 'Miss Sibsey' (as she was sold to me way back in i think 2005/6). Having just rechecked i see she is now going under the name of just 'Sibsey' but i love her just the same.
|'Sibsey' my first love|
In my section the VK i was lucky enough to have a fabulous Alitex glasshouse, such luxury! It had Coldframes, Thermal shading, lighting, venting on the roof and on the sides, its own rain collection system and if that ever ran low mains water, beds to grow in and my pride and joy a show bench. I loved it!
I would spend ages choosing plants and bulbs to create displays throughout the year and as we were on a tight budget most would be grown from seed. Every night when i got home from work in the winter i would pore over seed & bulb catalogues, working out colour schemes and flowering times.
|My show bench dispay|
|Me, faffing over my display in the Alitex|
A very rushed visit to Chelsea in 2010 where i did the marquee in half an hr, i know right! Half an hr! allowed me time to take only one pic. This is what happens when you go to plant shows with people who see plants as secondary to a garden though....
In 2010 one of the last gardens i visited with my mum and dad was Harlow Carr, life had been a bit turbulent as mum had been ill but was at the time in remission.
Anyway when i left Ryton i took 2 or 3 of my babies with me and through subsequent house moves they travelled with me, suffering neglect, till finally i had only one which i thought was a named variety but wasn't sure and 2 of the seedlings id grown but had never flowered, due to said neglect. 4 long years they waited for me to have the time to love them properly, I've never known a plant so faithful and resilient! In 2014 i repotted them all into the little terracotta pots id been dragging round with me, top dressed them and told them i was sorry and that i loved them and i hoped they forgave me... and they did. In the spring of 2015 i watched flower spikes form on my long neglected babies....
Then my excitement peaked! My first one opened and...
Then the self sown ones....
and buying a couple too....
Have i got you interested?
There's so many different types of auriculas and you can only name them after they have won at a show, that's the rule. All the ones I've grown from seed wouldn't be considered up to show standard and the standards are very strict. There are several different types and the features are set out here types of auricula
But that doesn't mean you cant just enjoy their beauty anyway.
If you'd like to know more about auriculas you cant do better than get in contact with these guys The national auricula and primula society
They can put you in touch with showers and growers in your local area.
I really hope that you may fall in love with these little guys like i have.
Part 2 of this blog going more into the history and technical details will be coming soon....