“….Lend me your ears!”

Here we are at the Easter holiday…or for those of us who eschew any Christian religious connection, Eostre ( there are various spellings – this one is the Northumbrian one – ) the celebration associated with the Anglo Saxon Goddess of the Spring Equinox. Looking from the window of my study, the only signs that tell me that it is Spring are all the little flowers coming up in the garden and the birds flitting about chasing each other. The weather is dire! Cold wet and…well yes… wintry!

One nice thing though….

My auriculas are budding out well! 🙂 – yes, I can probably take tablets for that!

( You suspected it…but now you know that I am round the bend don’t you?)

This ( for those that don’t know what they are …apologies to those that do ), is an auricula….one of mine in a previous year.

Primula Auricula

They are simply the most beautiful little Alpine jewels. Sometimes bi – coloured, oftimes three and in some cases four colours appear on the same flower! They flower prolifically in Spring and you can get them to flower again in the Autumn if you are lucky.

For Christmas ( Oh sorry the Celebration of Jul..the Winter solstice..) Stephen made me an Auricula Theatre. This is a set of shelving, with, if you like, a fancy top and a roof and painted traditionally in a vivid blue, in which you set small terracotta ( or nowadays you can have plastic, though I am a traditionalist ) pots of Auriculas of every hue imaginable. The result is rather like looking into a sweet shop window!

I took delivery of 10 more pots of these little beauties last week….a late birthday present and as I look out of the window ( through the pouring rain!) I can see them sitting on the shelves; the most vulnerable ones, those covered in a fine silvery powder known as Farina ( latin for flour ) or meal, sheltered from the downpour, by the roof over them.

A Traditional Auricula Theatre

In Candida, you can see the Farina or white powdery meal.

I LOVE them…. they are my favourite flower. I love Tulips too in all their varieties. I think it must be the part of me where my French Hugenot genes come to the surface. It’s supposed to be the French and the Dutch Hugenots, who brought them to these Isles in the late 16th, early 17th century, breeding and refining them over time, turning them from just pretty primroses, into the lovely little gems they are today. (Exactly  the same time as the dummy board was coming into vogue and, strangely they too were popularised by the Hugenot  immigrants)!

Auriculas have been represented in art ever since. The wonderful Still Life of the 17th century, the more picaresque flower arrangement paintings of the 19th century and even the 20th century pop art movement have all had a go at them.

Still Life with Auriculas known as greys edged shows, by Van Os

Have auriculas, can I hear you asking, escaped the attentions of that species of artist who was the dummy board painter?

I’m glad you asked that 😉

Of course not!

They appear in bouquets of flowers on chimney boards ( as proper cut out dummy boards they would be a bit fragile ) designed for the grate, from the 17th century.

Auriculas in Dutch still life- one of the mainstay flowers.

They are placed atop piles of books in vases in still life arrangements from about the same time. And one beautiful board, attributed to that fabulous trompe l’oeil painter, Jean Baptiste Oudry, depicts the only ( until modern times ) BLUE auricula there had ever been. ( well alright… it’s a bit purple but in those days they called it blue!)

Oudry's blue auricula fireboard

Nowadays there are quite a few blue Auriculas. I have bought one for myself. HERE IT IS –

Auricula Blue Yodeler- Auriculas have some very strange names!

I hope I can manage to get it to flower. Keep your fingers crossed!

Oh I nearly forgot! The meaning of -*Auricula*….?

Like an ear…Well….I have to say… I have never seen any ear as beautiful as this!


Auricula Primula Lord Saye en Sele

More auriculas?…. go to Drointon Nurseries... but be warned.… they are addictive!

4 Responses to ““….Lend me your ears!””

  1. julie Says:

    I think the auricula theatre is so lovely ! I’ve never seen one before although I have seen the flower.
    having a hectic week and we have a garden full of mud right now so it was a treat to sit and read your post and look lovely flowers :0)
    julie xx

  2. Sue Says:

    Thanks Julie. Glad you liked my little flowers…. have a happy Easter… and a rest!


  3. Fireboards, Felines and Festivities « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] We have just touched on Fireboards before, in this blog. ( “Lend me your ears ” ) […]

  4. Flower Power! « PastMastery- Whimsicals Says:

    […] in the know, will remember that over on PastMastery, the blog for and about the dummy board figure, my other blog, I wrote a post all about Auriculas. […]

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