Primula allionii - The primulas from the European Alps hold a special place in my heart. The remind me of my late childhood when I started to become interested in alpines and read the books of Frank Barker, Clarence Elliott, Royton Heath and Reginald Farrer. To an extent they are "back to basics" plants, after all the excitment of novelties from around the world, they remain,  with their simple gifts of beauty.

Primula allionii is the European alpine primula par excellence quite rare in the wild, but is common in cultivation in the UK. It goes through periods of increased popularity every few decades. It is extremely variable, both in the size and shape of the petals and in colour from white, pale pinks through to carmine and there are a vast number of named forms. I sowed a few seed capsules I found while tidying up a plant and produced a wide range from a single sowing. I was surprised that although none of them would be worth naming that most were very attractive and worth growing. Primula allionii usually needs protection from the rain, and as it flowers from about December is usually grown in Alpine Houses. It appreciates a limey compost, and fairly dry conditions.
 

Please click on the thumbnails for the full sized pictures.

Clone "81-19-3". Lovely matt flowers with a great form.

"Anna Griffith" Collected in the wild by Dr Giuseppe before 1939. Pale with frilly petals it is a great favourite and a reminder that even without the breeding programmes this species can throw up really distinct forms.

"Avalanche" introduced by Joe Elliott in the 70s. I got a plant I think when he first offered it and like this one, it had a touch of pink in it.

"Avalanche" again. This time it's cream, something that Margaret Earle notes in an article. Her plant came from Joe Elliott also. So a bit of a puzzle, a white form with a touch of pink, a cream form all from vegative propagations.

"Anne" Lovely form

"Austen" Simple cherry pink flowers.

"Crystal" this clone opens white and turns pink..

.."Crystal" turning pink..

"Crystal" after a fortnight or so.

"Elizabeth Burrow" lovely mid pink flowers with a creamy eye.

"Kermis" don't know too much about this Ken Wooster seedling, opens as a white pin eye, some pink appearing before the flower falls.

"Eureka" another Ken Wooster seedling, rated as the best white currently available.

"Flute" tiny plant with small flowers.

"Malcolm" a soft lilac form.

"Marion" pale pink pin eyed.

"Marjorie Wooster" large flowered, has a bad habit of the flowers reflexing.

"Mary berry" very popular for it's strong colour.

"Rosemary" another small form.