Primula ‘Lady Greer’

As appeared in Newsletter 154, January 2022. Text and photo courtesy of Brendan Sayers

Primula ‘Lady Greer’ is a plant that has graced our gardens for around 100 years. This
beautiful, mid-spring bloomer originated at Mrs Johnson’s garden in Kinlough, Co
Leitrim some time in the early 1900s and was named in honour of Lady Olivia Greer of
Curragh Grange, Co Kildare.

My garden is neither landscaped nor manicured but nonetheless it has some very fine
and aristocratic residents. P. ‘Lady Greer’ presently forms a block 1m by 0.5m in an old
potato bed. The flower stems grow to 30cm in sun and even taller in shade. The lightly
corrugated, crimped-edged foliage is the support for the stems with whorls of up to 30
creamy, pink-tinged flowers. The pink-tinge is elusive, fading as the flowers age, and is
possibly intensified by cold nights. It is a delight for your garden; all it needs are good
soil, ample sun and shade and a re-homing every few years.

Charles Nelson, in his encyclopaedia of plants with Irish origins and connections,
informs us that Cecil Monson records P. ‘Lady Greer’ as an excellent candidate for
breeding purpose. When I look at P. ‘Carrigdale’, I wonder if our great primrose breeder,
Joe Kennedy, had P. ‘Lady Greer’ in the breeding line?