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Innisfree old Irish Primroses and remembering J.F.K.

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Innisfree old Irish Primroses and remembering J.F.K. Reply with quote

Innisfree old Irish Primroses and remembering J.F.K.
by GPI

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

Primula vulgaris is commonly known to most of us as Polyanthus or the plain old Primrose. At this time of year Primrose plants are ideal to inject spring colour to the outer edges of beds/borders or to perk up window boxes and containers. This gem, which is commonly sold in garden centres as a spring bedding plant is actually a perennial, one that will grow and bloom within your garden for many years.

Even when out of flower, the Primrose carries interesting rosettes of wrinkled and ribbed leaves that sprawl lazily across the ground. But it's the slightly scented blooms that most of us are interested in. The flowering period for these stretches right through the months of March, April and May. Flower colours available include whites, yellows, pinks, reds and purples. Bi-colour blooms are also available, with the red petal and yellow eye combination particularly striking to myself.

I commonly allow a planting distance of about 20cm (8 inches) per plant to allow them adequately display their leaf wide spread over the years. Planting into partially shaded soil that is moist and rich will reward you with fresh leafy growth and a beautiful flowering display.

Unfortunately many of the Primroses for sale in Ireland today are imported. This may be about to change however....

The Innisfree primrose, photo / picture / image.

Fitzgerald and Kennedy.
Now a typically Irish coincidence has brought a Fitzgerald and a Kennedy together to collaborate on the further development and marketing of old Irish Primroses. Fittingly the first plants to retail from Pat Fitzgerald and Joe Kennedy's program coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the inauguration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy as President of the USA in January 1961.

The first of the "Kennedy Irish Primroses" to hit garden centre display beds this spring are the named varieties "Innisfree" and "Drumcliffe". Innisfree is a vibrant red with yellow eye on dark foliage and Drumcliffe another dark foliage variety, but this time with more generously proportioned lilac coloured flowers. More will follow with yellow, white, peach and pink flowers all on the most intensely dark purple foliage ever seen on Primroses.

It gets even better when you realise that this partnership between Pat Fitzgerald and Joe Kennedy aim to produce the commemorative primroses in Co Wexford, a stones throw from J.F.K's old family homestead in Dunganstown. In 1990 Pat Fitzgerald founded FitzGerald Nurseries in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny, and has had a long career in the nursery industry including acting as a former Chairman of Ireland Nursery Association. Joe Kennedy who hails from Carlow but now lives near Ballycastle, County Antrim is one of Ireland's leading amateur primrose breeders whose years of hard work and dedication are only just now being brought to public prominence.

In addition to unique foliage characteristics of the launch primroses "Innisfree" and "Drumcliffe", Pat and Joe are working on other exciting traits all bred by Joe from the old Irish varieties dating back to the late 19th century. A variety of the true Irish cowslip (Primula veris) would be an interesting one to see them turn their talents to I reckon.

"Kennedy Irish Primroses" should be available from all good garden centres this winter/spring. Details of all stockists can be found on the FitzGerald Nurseries website . I look forward to many more exciting introductions from them throughout 2011.

Any queries or comments on Innisfree old Irish Primroses and remembering J.F.K, please post below.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i love the pastel yellow primroses but really don't like the other colours; they look garish and temporary.
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