British gardeners have a special fondness for primroses and polyanthus, especially those with hints of the old varieties of long ago. We’ve seen some lovely new British-bred double primroses in recent years, now we have some stylish double-flowered laced polyanthus – ‘Tarragem Gilded Garnet’ (above, left) and ‘Tarragem Sparkling Ruby (below, left)’.
Both varieties reach about 10in/25cm in height, both have delightful double flowers. The flowers of ‘Tarragem Gilded Garnet’ are a deep mahogany red with pale gold edging to every petal, ‘Tarragem Sparkling Ruby’ is a much brighter red with a fine white edge to every petal.
Both were developed by Dr Margaret Webster, holder of the Plant Heritage National Collection of Primula (British floral variants) - that is, all the different forms of British native primulas – who’s been working on native primulas and the garden plants derived from them, for many years. Others of her Tarragem varieties (Tarragem, by the way, is an anagram of Margaret) can sometimes be seen at specialist Primula shows.
“I first began breeding double polyanthuses sometime in the early 2000's,” she told me, “and the two Tarragem double polyanthuses date from about 2008. It took time to get them bulked up by micropropagation. They can be grown as other polyanthuses, but all doubles benefit from feeding. They normally don't set seed so expend much energy continuing to flower over the season.”
You can order these Tarragem double polyanthus from Hayloft Plants.