My growing addiction to Primulas has resulted in me starting to buy some more unusual varieties. One of this year’s purchases was Primula sikkimensis from Kevock Gardens in Scotland. When I opened the parcel back early in the year I have to admit that the plant didn’t look that inspiring but I potted it up and put it to one side in the holding bay along with all the other plants waiting for a new home.
Now if I am brutally honest I have to admit to forgetting about it. What with limited gardening time due to work and rain and a large project on the go it was forgotten until yesterday when I noticed some wane looking plants. There tucked in the back was a soft glimmer of buttery yellow – nope still no memory of the plant, hopeless I know. Anyway, I negotiated my way to the back of the holding bay and plucked the small pot out. To say I was thrilled at the beautiful flower I found would be an understatement. I love the color it is much like our native primrose but just a little stronger without being brassy. I am also quite taken with the arrangement of the whorl of flowers. However, there was something very strange about this particular plant – it is suffering from fasciation.
You can just see from the photo above the strangely thick stem which looks like more than one stem fused together but is also fairly flat. Apparently primulas are prone to fasciation and the mutation doesn’t usually occur from one year to another. There are a number of possible reasons for it: a virus, the bacterium Rhodococcus fascians, a genetic mutation or an incident such as frost or animal damage. I wonder if this plant has mutated due to the strange and extreme shifts in weather we have had this spring. Anyway, I find it quite fascinating and it will be interesting to see if it reappears next year.