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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Primula Sylvan Series: New from Owl’s Acre

Posted by Graham Rice on 21 Feb 2010 at 10:37 AM

Primula 'Sylvan Lilac Rose' Jackanapes polyanthus. Image ©Simon Crawford.There’s a mystique about the unusual forms of primroses and polyanthus. Plants and seed have always been difficult to find, and if you grew them from seed you never knew how many were going to be true. Jackanapes flowers have one normal flower sitting inside another which has green leafy tissue at the tips of the petals. The intriguing flower form and that sense of history – they go back hundreds of years - are always captivating.

So the news that seed of hardy Jackanapes polyanthus is now available in five separate colours, and that there’ll be no duds, is more than just welcome.

Simon Crawford, a member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and renowned as a plant breeder around the world, told me: “These new hybrids have come about through a project I have been working on with Otka Plavcova at the Silva Tarouca Institute at Pruhonice near Prague. This follows on from her project creating Hose-in-Hose polyanthus that resulted in the You and Me Series. The basic material for this Jackanapes project came many years ago via Barnhaven Primroses, when they were still in Cumbria.”

Primula 'Sylvan Burgundy' Jackanapes polyanthus. Image ©Simon Crawford.These plants are unusually challenging to breed so this is quite an achievement. The number of colours and the amount of seed available is still very limited so seed is available exclusively through Owl’s Acre Speciality Seeds.

And they should be easier to grow than many that we’ve seen in the past. “These varieties are extremely hardy because of their genetic background,” Simon told me, “and their polyanthus habit helps to display the charming and unusual blooms to best effect whilst keeping them away from soil splash. They can be displayed in containers of course and are perhaps best shown in this way but I have no doubt they will be long lived and prosper in the border.”

The Sylvan Series Jackanapes polyanthus are available in five separate colours: lilac-rose, yellow shades, violet shades, gold-laced burgundy shades, and a pastel pink mixture.

You can order these hardy Sylvan Series polyanthus from Owl’s Acre Speciality Seeds.


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