Rainbow for June and July

The bog garden, which is formed by an underground stream, certainly comes into it’s own at the beginning of June when flowers start bursting out along the length of the border. There are all the colours of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, just not necessarily in that order, plus pink and white! The plants are mainly various varieties of candelabra primulas, plus a few other varieties, with iris, ferns, hostas, astilbes, euphorbia, rodgersia & meconopsis to keep them company. The first photo shows the left hand end of the border.

Bog garden from the left

Right hand end of bog garden

The right hand end of the border also has a log circle path through to the back garden, just behind  Hosta Halcyon. There is also space at the back behind euphorbia palustris ( the green in the rainbow)  for a path to make the weeding easier.

Primula Postford White

The first candelabra primula to flower is always this lovely white one, Postford White. I have grown quite a number of seedlings from this one and they are now at the back of the border in amongst the meconopsis.

Primula Inverewe

Next to flower is the scarlet Primula Inverewe, such a lovely plant.

Primula Inverewe

I’m so pleased with Primula Inverewe, it is increasing nicely. Having seen it in lots of gardens when we had a holiday in Scotland 2 yrs ago and tried to buy it while we were there, but no luck, not even at the garden Inverewe!  After a while I found a nursery on Dartmoor who sold it and it seems very happy with us now.

Candelabra primula

I like this one very much, Primula aurantiaca, it is such a lovely colour, not yellow, not orange and so many flowers crammed on each whorl of flowers.

Bog garden

At the very left hand side is Primula japonica Apple Blossom which really shouldn’t be by the red of Inverewe. When it has finished flowering I will move it to where there is a space at the other end. The white near the top is  Zantedeschia Aethiopica which is new this year so only small at the moment.

P.japonica Apple Blossom

Primula japonica Apple Blossom is such a pretty flower, white with a pink eye.

Primula Inverewe

Candelabra primula

Candelabra primula

Quite a few plants are now flowering in various shades of mauve & lilac, these are Primula beesiana, I think.

Candelabra primula

I think this yellow one is Primula bulleyana, I admit, I’m getting confused with my beesiana, bulleesiana, and bulleyana. The Bulley family owned Bees Seeds, and many years ago when I lived in the north west of England and worked in a bank, sometimes when sorting all their cheques, never did I think 50 yrs later that their plants would cause me so much confusion!

Candelabra primula

As this magenta one doesn’t have a yellow eye, I think maybe, it might be P. japonica Miller’s Crimson? If it is, I don’t remember buying it! The hosta behind was new last year and is Strip Tease, I like the  markings on the leaves.

Primula alpicola alba

A little white Primula alpicola is at the front of the border, I have planted lots of seedlings of this one too. It has the most beautiful delicate perfume, but being so small, you only appreciate it when down on your knees doing the weeding!

Candelabra primula

Some Primula bulleesiana towards the right hand end of the border, these only have a yellow eye, no red.

Meconopsis Lingholm

The meconopsis are at the right hand end, this is one of last years seedlings, most of them didn’t flower this year, I’m hoping they are gathering their strength for next year. The ones that did flower are a couple of years old now.

Iris pseudacorus

The wild flag iris, Iris pseudacorus, has put itself here, there was a large clump here but I think the fern Matteucia struthiopteris, is gradually pushing it out.

Back of border

From the path at the back of the border, in the foreground are Iris pseudocorus variegata and a Rheum palmatum which isn’t looking very happy, I wonder why?

Candelabra primulas

Bog garden

Iris Butter and Sugar

At the very left hand end of the bog garden is Iris sibirica Butter and Sugar, they look almost white here but there is quite a bit of yellow too.


I’m looking here at the little primula at the front, this is right at the edge, almost in the grass. This wasn’t planted by me, but looking at the two behind, I think it could be a cross between them!


Another seedling that has popped up almost in the grass, is at the other end of the border, between P. Inverewe and  P.aurantiaca. This can’t be a cross between them because Inverewe didn’t flower last year, so goodness knows where it came from!

Left hand end

There are quite a few more primulas to flower. Primula florindae, is yellow, I have planted lots of seedlings further back in the border and Primula florindae Coppertones  whose seedlings are just about ready to be planted out now. Its all go, shuffling seed trays and trying to clear the greenhouse, I shouldn’t need to sow any more primula seed for a while. By next year, hopefully,  there should be drifts of all the colours, no matter what their names are, a real rainbow!

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24 Responses to Rainbow for June and July

  1. Cathy says:

    Wow, Pauline – this collection of candelabra is incredible! Definitely something to aim for, although I have made a slow start with only 3 or 4 so far but I do have some tiny, tiny seedlings as well. I had forgotten till this year that they were later than drumsticks. There is a garden near Oban which is beautiful with candelabra at this time of year – can’t remember the name without checking. Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, it is looking rather colourful at the moment! I think some of mine will still be flowering well into July so it makes quite a long flowering period altogether. I think most Scottish gardens have candelabra primulas, they certainly have the rain to keep them happy!

  2. rusty duck says:

    Absolutely stunning. I will be keeping a close eye on your bog garden, as I have a very marshy area to develop in the future. I only have bulleyana, so far, but must get more. Especially Inverewe – been there too, beautiful garden. I had (and lost) Hosta Striptese, and love its markings. Meconopsis – glorious!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jessica, when we first moved here,23 yrs ago, I wondered why everything in this area was dying, the previous people had planted all sorts that wanted either ordinary soil or even well drained soil. Some plants I managed to save and move them elsewhere but most died. I later found that the farmer who used to own the field where out house was built always got his shire horse out to plough my corner of his field, he wasn’t going to risk his new tractor! I will look forward to reading about the development of your marshy area !

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I think your love for Primula is rubbing off on me (and my mum’s love for them), I recently bought Bulleyana earlier this year and it’s in bloom now. I actually bought it for mum as she loves the Candelabras, just waiting for them to mature so I can divide and give some to her.

    Loving your unknown new one, very nice colour indeed.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, it’s good to know that Primulas are growing on you! While you are waiting for your plant to be big enough to split, why not sow some seed, they are so easy following Carol Klein’s instructions to sow them while green and not wait for them to turn brown. They are a bit sticky, but easy to spread on the compost and they germinate very quickly.You would then have lots for yourself and for your Mum!
      I have a feeling that I might be getting quite a few of mixed parentage!!

  4. Christina says:

    Thank you Pauline, I have been looking forward to seeing all your Primulas. they are lovely and I love that you have mixed all the colours. Remembering how lovely they were last year has made me decide to widen my back border and plant the front (not with Primulas obviously, they’d never survive here) with Anemones and tulips in a multitute of bright colours, I can’t think what would follow on that would continue the bright colours but I will be satisfied with spring colours changing into more or less what there is now.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Christina, I’m rather happy with how things are turning out and the colour will continue for another month with more different primulas, astilbes and Iris ensata. I will look forward to seeing your new front of border next year!

  5. Wendy says:

    The primulas are beautiful, I do love the Apple Blossom in particular and it’s fascinating to see your ‘surprise’ primulas, too. Unlike yours, my Yellow Flag Irises are spreading everywhere. Every year I have a new clump somewhere by the pond.

    • Pauline says:

      The yellow flag iris Wendy, pops up in different areas of the garden, probably from spreading the compost, which must have the seeds in it from when I deadhead them. Apple Blossom primula is very pretty, I must make more of it!

  6. Alberto says:

    Wow, you really have a lot of primula, I don’t even try them in my garden but I do love them. That p. aurantiaca is the best one to me, it looks so regal in velvet and gold.
    I’m glad those matteuccia ferns are taking over the iris pseudocorus, although they look very good now, they last very little and they are very aggressive plants in terms of space and self seeding. I kind of hate them indeed. On the other hand a fern is always welcome.

    • Pauline says:

      Alberto, I’m beginning to think I need a bigger bog garden, with the soil being damp all the time, the leaves are growing far bigger than I thought and I’m running out of space!
      Aurantiaca reminded me of something, and you have solved my puzzle, velvet and gold, a ruff just like they wore in Elizabeth 1 time, ( 1600s ) yes they are Elizabethan dandies!

  7. Cathy says:

    What a beautiful collection of primulas – very much a rainbow!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Cathy, there are more buds opening every day, I will have to write a “part 2” in a couple of weeks when different flowers are adding to the rainbow.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Great scenes of your bog garden. It’s nice the white Primula alpicola rewards your weeding efforts with a bit of pleasant fragrance. Susie

    • Pauline says:

      Susie, the perfume from P.alpicola is really lovely. We bought it when we were in Scotland 2 yrs ago and I can remember now the perfume in the car all the way home! The bog garden is my favourite bit of the garden at the moment, it is so very colourful!

  9. I am so envious of all your primulas. I have tried some of the more obscure ones with no luck. Primroses are over in Pennsylvania for the season, but it was a great year for them.

    • Pauline says:

      What a shame Carolyn, that you’re not able to grow primulas, they are such lovely flowers and they do so well in semi shade here. They are in sun from 5am till 10am, then after that they are in shade for the rest of the day. We still have a few more different varieties to flower, I can see that there will have to be another post about them.

  10. Such a beautiful array of candelabra primulas Pauline. I am wishing I had a boggy area and milder winters so I could grow them as well. The flowers are so elegant. I assume that candelabra primulas are later to bloom than other varieties of primulas?

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Jennifer, when we bought the house, I had no idea that we were going to have so many different areas to garden in, the bog was a bonus! Ye, I have lots of other primulas that flower before the candelabra types, and there are still different varieties to come, so the whole family keep us in flowers for a long time, such a diverse family.

  11. kininvie says:

    The primulas are looking really happy, Pauline. Well done indeed. The japonicas don’t do nearly so well with me – I don’t know why. But that’s definitely Millers Crimson in your picture. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a hopeless task trying to keep track of many of the species, because they interbreed so freely. But you won’t get an Inverewe cross, because p.’Inverewe’ is sterile. Your ‘surprise’ is probably a bulleyana/chungensis cross with pulverulenta, if you have it – or with something else. Incidentally, the p.alpicola seed does not always come true, and you may well have a number of purple-flowered offspring: var ‘violacea’ If you want to increase the pure white var.alba reliably, dividing may be the best option. As for the sick rheum – check for rodent damage. If it’s not that, it may simply be in too wet a spot. I know the books say damp soil, but in my experience, they go back or rot if they are too wet (especially in winter). Sorry for such a long comment.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Kininvie, don’t worry about the length of your comment, very interesting for me. All the seedlings of P alpicola that have flowered so far have been white, I did buy violacea at the same time, but so far this year it hasn’t flowered.
      Interesting what you say about the rheum, we certainly were flooded at times last year in that area, all of a sudden it has started growing properly, but then it has been dry for a while now.
      BTW, I’m having trouble leaving comments on a few peoples blogs, unfortunately yours is one of them. My son usually sorts out my problems for me but he is on holiday at the moment, hopefully he will sort me out when he gets back!

  12. Jane Scorer says:

    Lovely photos of a lovely garden. Love your planting, it is so interesting. Lots of colour and a huge variety of Primulas. Do you do Auriculas too ??

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for stopping by Jane, lovely to hear from someone new. The primulas have certainly been colourful this year and some are still flowering making the bog garden look very pretty. No, I’m afraid I don’t do auriculas as well, I think they need different growing conditions from all the other primulas that I have.

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