ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Lone Primula

Updated on November 8, 2009

Garden debutante beats up the weeds

Primula are pretty, fragile, looking things, and with a name like Primula, you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at some timid, delicate, too- well-brought-up plant.

Not a bit of it.

I bought a punnet of Primula seedlings, and scattered them all over the place.

All except one struggled. The one that wasn’t struggling was the one I’d put in an odd bit of garden, an almost pencil thin lining of garden be along the side fence. This was a tough neighborhood for plants, as I soon discovered.

It was alive with potato weed, an Italian tuber which produces miniature edible potato-like tubers and has definite plans for world domination. They clump, like typical tubers, and look like chives when they sprout. There was also oxalis, that tolerant member of any plant community, and a vicious thing called asthma weed, which is as much fun as it sounds for hay fever sufferers. It’s a real weed, with abrasive leaves and a tendency to reproduce if you look at it. The odd thistle also put in an appearance, the umpteenth generation of thistle from the 1900s, real Scottish thistles, with tempers to match. A few grasses were also trying to colonize the place.

This was where I’d put my little Primula. It seemed OK, so I left it there, near the gate, where it happily grew despite the neighborhood culture. Anyway, not only did it grow, but it grew quite big, and then flowered. I came out one day to find a little fireworks display near the gate. Talk about elegant! The Primula looked like it was  trying to become one of those national monuments. It was a dazzling pink each circlet of flowers perfect. 

It was like Margot Fonteyn growing up in the Congo war zone, in costume. This wasn’t a place for annuals, I’d discovered, but the Primula had things well under control. Primulas have ground hugging basal leaves, their version of the dandelion effect. That sort of explained the effect on the nearby weeds, but I discovered that the Primula had somehow managed to claim a zone around itself, as well.

The potato weed, asthma weed, thistles, and other heavies weren’t going anywhere near it. These things were usually happy to take on anything but a full grown French lavender, or other hard cases. They actually avoided it, and there was bare earth around it.  It flowered, then flowered some more, like it was trying to prove it wasn’t a fluke the first time. It grew quite big, too, a Godzilla in fancy dress.

It’s hard to describe the effect of this single standout plant, but most gardeners will remember plants which have stopped them in their tracks. This one plant was doing the aesthetic work of a whole garden bed. It had the delicacy of a Chinese floral painting, in the most unlikely setting, against an old grey paling fence, with what could be called “hybrid” concrete.

I’m not sure what species this Primula was, but I think it was Primula japonica. It has perfect circlets of flowers, radiating out from the stem. It looks like it was commissioned from some expert flower designer. This one had “stories”, upper and lower levels of flowers, exactly like a fireworks display.

Wish I’d taken a picture of it at the time, but if you see it, you’ll recognize it. It’ll be the innocent little pink thing scaring the weeds.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      See if your can find out what this one was. It was such a beautiful plant, it could be used a piece of jewelry.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      8 years ago from New Brunswick

      I just bought, at 2nd hand bookstore, a book on primulas.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)