The Grower Coach plant of the week for the week of May 15th is the Primula auricula! Also known as Auricula, Auricula Primula or Alpine Cowslip. This is an old fashioned favourite collectible plant that has been treasured for it interesting flower assortment and unusual flower colours for hundreds of years. Dan Bruce the curator at the Lake Country Museum says 'They have been cultivated since the mid to late 1500's'! These interesting plants are often grown in pots and displayed when in bloom but they are also a hardy perennial plant that can be grown in your rockery or perennial boarder. These plants originated in the alpine areas of the Alps and are found in rocky mountainous areas around southwest Asia. As a high altitude plant they are ok with the full sun but do not care for the afternoon heat. So we usually plant them where there is some shading in the afternoon. Some varieties are favoured for their dusty looking leaves. This 'farina' is a natural coating that may help to deter insects and may help with drought tolerance. The dustier the better as the collectors say. I have been growing Auriculas from seed for many years and have found a few amazing specimens. The seedlings are often a mixture of colours so sometimes you get lucky. I have posted a few of my pictures and have included a link to a great short video that may create some interest and possibly a tear or two.