Primulas are ever-reliable and obliging plants in our gardens. Variants and cultivars of the common primrose, Primula vulgaris, and the Juliana primroses, Primula juliae, grow exceptionally well for us and lend themselves to easy propagation so we can multiply their numbers with ease to give greater impact in the garden.
They have always been treasured in Irish gardens and one I have come to like especially is Primula ‘Kinlough Beauty’. Barnhaven Primulas stock it and describe it, “A very dainty salmon pink polyanthus type juliana. They usually have a cream stripe down the middle of each petal that make it easy to recognize. It is a very old Irish cultivar. Very easy to multiply from its creeping rootstock, which will happily spread in the garden.”
Dr. E. Charles Nelson, in A Heritage of Beauty, quotes Cecil Monson: “I do know that when the late Mrs. Johnston came back to her house in Kinlough in Co. Leitrim she found several seedlings had appeared from her [Primula juliae]. Among them was the lovely pink polyanthus type ‘Kinlough Beauty’, while another was the creamy yellow ‘Lady Greer’. ‘Kinlough Beauty’ was a chance seedling, “neat and small and covered with blooms.”
I find it best to divide primulas immediately after they have flowered so there is still moisture in the soil and they quickly make roots before the heat of summer puts them into a semi dormancy. However, the primula is an amenable plant and I divided a clump of ‘Kinlough Beauty’ today, a clump, about 20 – 25 cm in diameter, which I split and then planted the resulting 50 small plants as a border to a small pathway – quite a return from one clump! It is no wonder gardeners love these primulas.