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As trade with other countries grew, so did the movement of plants. And some time in those early days, a pink primrose appeared from the faraway land of Turkey. It was known to early gardeners as "Turkie Purple." Until then, primroses were only bred in cream and yellow shades.
With the pink primula, breeders began to toy with crossing the plant with the cowslip and the result of this cross was the polyanthus. The polyanthus is available today world wide, and in numerous vivid colors and flowering types. It's a cheery plant that will add a bright spot to a dark corner of the garden.
The polyanthus is used to best effect in a woodland garden or a shady location, and is a perfect plant to line a shady path. It is a small plant, only growing to about 10" at most, and it grows best in a zone 4 garden or higher.
|Photo by Sue Welsh|
Good nurseries and nursery catalogs will have a variety of named polyanthus plants or seeds available. But an online search may reveal specialty nurseries that deal primarily in primroses and polyanthus or woodland plants in general. These specialty nurseries are valuable to gardeners who collect certain varieties of plants. The polyanthus is a plant worth collecting for its range in color variations – a sparkling flower in the garden, even on a dreary day. And it's a beautiful, albeit less-than-subtle choice for growing en masse in a romantic woodland garden or adding even more color to the cottage garden.
To learn how to grow and care for primula and polyanthus, good reference articles are found at The Garden Helper and the UK site, Countryside Helper. It is illegal these days to remove or transplant primula from the wild in the United Kingdom.