The idea of having a shelving unit in your garden perhaps isn't at the of your landscaping must haves, but there was a time when any self-respecting flower fan wouldn't be caught deadheading without one.

Auriculas are a type of primula (think of sunny little wild primroses) that are native to Europe, and lovely a rocky alpine setting. Clusters of velvety little flowers, which give them their rather sweet nickname, bears ears (adorable, right?), sit atop a tall single stem. It takes a little imagination, but a gentle breeze blowing over these little plants gives a jovial little bounce to the flowers, which some Victorians likened to an audience having a good old giggle in a theatre. Enter the auricula theatre!

By the beginning of the 19th century, auriculas were one of the most popular flowers in the Florist Societies of the UK, with members competing to cultivate new colour, bigger flowers and of course, that joyous wobbly head. And what better way to display your cast of innovative little plants, than in rows of their very own little theatre!

No stately garden was complete without its very own theatre, and gardeners would be paid handsomely to maintain and grow collections. If you fancied your collection particularly special, you could even enter competitions up and down the country known as 'florist feasts', which were usually held in village pubs! Where do we do start the petition to bring this tradition back, please?

Feeling inspired? Grab yourself some auriculas, some old shelves and some terracotta pots and set up your own little theatre for some Spring time sunshine. Bonus point - auriculas are perennial, so they'll come back year after year!



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