The Year of The Poppy

Back in winter I clearly recall saying to Donald ”This is 2014 and if ever there was one, this is the year of the poppy”
And so it is. We have the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st world war, and as August approaches we will all be swept up in the reflection and memories that the date and its attendant ceremonies will awaken.
Anyone of my post 2nd world war generation will be steeped in family stories and memories of the 1914-1918 war. They were 50 year old memories when I was a teenager, and my grandfather was gone, at a younger age than necessary as the long shadow of the trenches and gassing and the whole experience took its long slow toll on many British men.
The memories and reflections have freshened in recent years, and the annual Memorial Day ceremonies are now very well attended, and red poppies are a potent symbol in our lives.
Oriental Poppies Papaver orientale Abriachan Nurseries


Looking around the nursery and the garden, it has been surprising and pleasing to see the range of poppies we grow and Donald has responded to my never ending desire to add more.
I’ll keep the reporting coming over the summer and autumn as they come into flower, but here is the first instalment and they look terrific.

Californian Poppy  (Escholtzia californica)
These are fabulous and without peer on a warm sunny day. We grow the single orange, no mixtures or frilled varieties as I find they just do not have the impact and sheer exuberance of the orange. They now self-seed for us, and that gets things moving after a mild winter.

Californian Poppy  Escholtzia californica Abriachan Nurseries

Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule)
A favourite as we used to grow lots in The Falkland Islands, where they seemed to thrive on cool summers and sea spray. Well they would wouldn’t they.
Best grown as seed & growth year 1 (sown in March/April or even May) and up to flower year 2. A good percentage carries on into years 3 and 4. 
They make really good cut flowers, plunge them into a deep jug of water.

Iceland Poppies Papaver nudicaule Abriachan Nurseries

Welsh Poppies  (Meconopsis cambrica)
Tough, easy to grow poppies. We like to create areas of the garden where they are all yellow or all orange, and I love the red ones that pop up unexpectedly in many corners. Very tolerant of woodland shade and hence extremely useful to brighten dull corners. 

Welsh Poppies Meconopsis cambrica Abriachan Nurseries

Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale)
These are the huge early summer poppies. They have large heads and centres of quivering black stamens. All colours are wonderful, but the reds and pinks stand out for us with performance and you have to love the huge whites with black thumb prints at the base of the petals and the striking black centres. Feed well and have a nearby perennial or some annuals to take over the space as these die down.  Show stoppers!


Oriental Poppies Papaver Perry's Pink Abriachan Nurseries

Himalayan Poppies (Meconopsis)
Any gardener will have heart stopping moments of pleasure when they see these superb blue poppies growing well.  We have acid sandy soil, and provided we keep them well fed, and watch they do not dry out, these aristocratic, elegant plants do wonderfully  well for us.  

Himalayan Poppies Meconopsis Abriachan Nurseries

There are a range of cultivars and some very nice coloured variants like Hensol Violet. 
I’ll try and guide you through them and all our other poppies, including the fabulous ladybird poppies, in another Blog another time.
MD

Match your friends to an auricula name.

When giving a plant as a gift to a friend, I have always enjoyed trying to match up the name of the plant to the recipient.
I thought I would put together a selection of ideas for Primula Auricula which have some wonderfully varied and inventive descriptive names. 


FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO LOVES ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL:
Bookham Firefly, Chaffinch, Cuckoo Fayre, Eden Goldfinch, Eden Greenfinch, Greenpeace, Green Parrot, Hetty Wolf, Kingfisher, Laverock Fancy (A Laverock is a Lark), Mersey Tiger,  Piglet, Queen Bee, Skylark, Snooty Fox, Snowy Owl, Starling, Tawny Owl, Tay Tiger, The RavenAbriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula
                         
.... AND ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL:
Autumn Fire, Eden Blue Star, Forest Fire, Moon Glow, Money Moon, Northern Lights, Spring Meadow, Sweet Pastures, Scorcher
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula
 
FOR YOUR DELICIOUS FOODY FRIENDS:
Blackcurrant, Butterwick, Brownie, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Curlie Wurlie, Curry Blend, Honey, Hopley’s Coffee, Lemon Sherbet, Mandarin, Old Mustard, Pink Fondant, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Salad, StromboliAbriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR THE STYLISH FASHIONISTAS:
Blue Bonnet, Blue Jean, Blue Velvet, Chamois, Doublet, Headdress, Leather Jacket, Pinstripe, Royal Velvet, Taffeta                                                                                                       
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR YOUR FRIEND THE ROYALIST:
Grey Monarch , Holyrood, Kingcup, Old Gold, Pharaoh, Queen Alexander, Queen Bee, Rajah, Royal Velvet, The Czar
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR THE ROMANTIC, OR MAYBE FOR SOMEONE YOU WOULD LIKE TO WOO:
Angel Eyes, Blossom, Blush Baby, Cutie Pie, Dark Eyes, Dusky Maiden, Favourite, Lovebird, Rosebud    
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR THE AFICIONADO OF MYTHS AND LEGENDS:                  
Astolat (Legendary city in Arthurian legends), Excalibur, Fiddler’s Green (Legendary afterlife), Golden Fleece, Golden Hind, Guinea, Nymph, Old England, Old Gold, Remus, Sword
OR SCI-FI / GAME OF THRONES FANS:
Star Wars No 1, Pippin Hetty Wolf (ok ok, it’s not a Dire Wolf, but it’s as close as I could get), Queen Bee, Sirius, The Raven
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR THE ROUGH AND THE TOUGH:
Border Bandit, Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Geronimo, Raleigh Stripe, Red Gauntlet, Rodeo , Sherwood, Super Para, Sword                            
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

FOR YOUR FAVOURITE CULTURE VULTURE:
Chorister, Doublure (bookbinding), Galen (Greek Philosopher), Marmion (Poem by Walter Scott), Margot Fonteyn, Red Gauntlet (Novel by Walter Scott), Sugar Plum Fairy, Tarentella, Tosca, Wedgewood       
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula

SCOTTISH ROOTS:
Glenelg, Portree, Slioch, Gizabroon (maybe not a real word, but it sounds Scottish to me), Sandwood Bay, Tummel           
ENGLISH HERITAGE:
Butterwick, Southport, Brookfield, Finchfield, Idminston, Lepton’s Jubilee, Minley,  Trafalger Square, Yorkshire Grey, Sherwood, Old Suffolk Bronze, Rabley Heath, Shalford, Southbarrow, Walton Heath                                                                    
IRISH ORIGINS:
Fiddler’s Green, Green Isle, Nantenan, Old Irish Green, Old Irish Scented                                    

FROM WIDER AFIELD:
Brazil, Everest Blue, Mojave, Prague, Zambia        
                            
CHRISTIAN NAMES:
Of course you might hit lucky and have a friend who is a Mary or a Sandra and they can plant a little bit of themselves in the garden.  Here are some more possible match-ups:
Alicia,  Adrian, Beatrice, Helen, Erica, Greta, Joyce, Delilah, Joannie, Ling, Margaret, Mary, Nigel , Peggy, Rene, Rufus, Rosemary, Sandra, Sheila, Sirius, Tim, Trudy, Winifred 

And a lot less likely, but maybe you hit the coincidence jackpot and have a friend with the same name as the original person whom the auricula was named after:
Alice Hayson, Bill Bailey, Bob Lancashire, Douglas Black, Ellen Thompson, Fanny Meerbeck, Fred Booley, Joan Elliot, Karen Cordrey, Lee Paul, Lisa Clara, Lucy Lockett, Margaret Faulkner, Matthew Yates, Neville Telford ,Piers Telford, Rachel Kinnen, Sarah Lodge    

And if nothing else quite matches, why not go with the most simple statement of all:

Primula Auricula My Friend!
 
Abriachan Nurseries Primula Auricula My Friend

As a wee disclaimer, I have no idea as to the original eponyms and no offence is intended by my classifications.
CD
                       

After The Show

It is always a little sad as you take down the Auricula theatre for the year.

However, I don’t think the auricula are sad.  By mid-May they enjoy the move to a shady cooler place, and it gives us the chance to do the satisfying job of returning everything to alphabetical order and filling in gaps.

Ah if only life were always that simple.
Looking back, what were the stars of the show this year?
Well amazingly, the greens and the white edged. That’s right, the most difficult put on the best show.

Look at Teem, and Hetty Wolf and Bob Lancashire and Minley. 

Hetty Wolf
Minley

Bob Lancashire

It is an odd business but every year the show stoppers are different.

The spot light is regularly on gold centred alpines, Rodeo and Snooty Fox and Merridale are all so bright as to startle.
Merridale
Rodeo

 In recent years some of the doubles have also been very popular.
Like Mary and Gwen Baker, Fred Booley and Excalibur.
Fred Booley
Gwen Baker
Mary
Excaliber

And then there are the Stripes and Fancies. Fancies are just those flowers no one can quite classify. Look at Lord Saye en Sele and Nantenan. 
Lord Saye en Sele
Nantenan


Finally this year some of the old favourite Border varieties were just wonderful.I have never seen Old Irish Scented looking so well; Paradise Yellow flowered outstandingly for a month and Chamois and Bradmore Bluebell were beautiful enough to inspire poetry.
Old Irish Scented
Paradise Yellow
Bradmore Bluebell
Chamois


Finally we had one late flowering new Border, Cloudy Bay.  Astonishing.
It brings to mind all of that imagery of New Zealand wine and scenery.

Looking forward now to our next holiday and next years Theatre.Margaret

2014 Catalogue - Now Online


So our daughter Cat and her partner Brad are on The Falkland Islands…that is bringing back so many memories. Memories of the Camp, the wildlife and the vivid gardens full of sun loving annuals. 
The Falkland Islands were sunny, cool and windy too of course but I remember many, many sunny days. 
The new 2014 catalogue cover that Cat has done is great, showing three wonderful Falkland icons , Rockhopper Penguins, Islander planes and the Falkland island slipper plant Calceolaria fothergillii.

http://www.lochnessgarden.com/catalogue/catindex.htm
Our trips to New Zealand continue too, and so our love affair with the southern hemisphere goes on.
Back here On Loch Ness it has been an extraordinary mild winter. We have been spared much of the rain and storms that have plagued the south of England and Wales. It will be very interesting to see how things grow away, with so little check to their growth.

The February garden at Abriachan is a delight of snowdrops, snowflakes and the Daphne bholua sends a long trail of intoxicating scent along the pathways. The evergreens are slick and healthy and the flower buds on the Rhododendrons and Camellias are fat and full of promise, the soil is heaving with bulbs emerging as we move the leaf fall aside.
Spring is on the move.


Margaret

View our 2014 Plant Catalogue Online
Download the 2014 Plant Catalogue
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