The Old Dirt Dobber's Garden Book, 1944
EVERGREENS: In spite of good care, an occasional arborvitae, juniper, pine or cedar will become so ragged and ill-shaped that it destroys the beauty of the planting. These trees are not generally pruned severely, but in cases like this a drastic treatment is the only recourse. If you decide to prune, don't stop half-way; cut the top one-third out and prune the side growth at least half-way back.
CUT POPPIES: Cut freshly opened poppies very early in the morning and sear the ends immediately with flame or boiling water. Treat an inch or two of the base of the stems and char them thoroughly. Then put them in fresh water and they will last for several days without wilting. Do not cut the stems after the first searing. The large Oriental poppies may be cut the same way.
Adventures in My Garden and Rock Garden
Louise Beebe Wilder, 1923
I find the notion that Primroses will not thrive in this country rather widespread, particularly among professional gardeners. Undoubtedly it is true that our hot, dry summers are trying for them, especially where no special provision is made for their comfort in sun-baked gardens. But where there is some shade, the soil may easily be made to suit them, and moisture supplied where necessary; and in many gardens are felicitous situations where these flowers would grow as luxuriantly as we would have them, even seeding themselves, which is the true sign of a plant's having made itself at home.
Mrs. Wilder goes on to say that she has over a thousand primrose plants, many grown from seed, in her garden. She includes the following in the family of Primula: English Primrose, cowslips, oxlips, auriculas, and forms from alpine and blog conditions. She mentions a new "blue" primrose which she doesn't care for and she wishes for a green variety that was available many years before. Below are conditions she gave her plants to thrive:
-a little leaf soil or rotted manure scratched in among their growths now and again.
-watered in dry weather with weak manure water
-their leaves kept clean and free from grit
-they require a deep, rich soil, stiff in quality and fairly moist
-shelter from cutting winds and shade for part of the day
Primroses "are for sheltered, shadowy corners, lightly wooded places, where they may have as companions Hepaticas, Violets, Bloodroot, Dutchman's-breetches, small ferns and emerald mosses."
I love Mrs. Wilder's writing and will share more from her books later in the spring.
On OFL I have an article on Forget-Me-Nots, another charming spring flower: