In the Garden Now: Wanda Wanda is my name...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Wanda English Primrose

Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

Wanda the English Primrose is back! She's been welcoming spring in our garden for over 20 years. She was a "pass along plant" from a gardening neighbor all those years ago. When I see Wanda in the garden I think of my neighbor Mary who was such a generous and inspirational gardener.

If you are of a certain age you might remember Wunda Wunda, an early children’s television series that aired in Seattle between 1953 and 1972. Wunda Wunda's closing theme song for each show went like this:

“Wunda Wunda is my name.
Oh boys and girls, I'm glad you came.
We'll have fun and we'll play games.
Won't you come again?”

Each spring when I see Wanda the Primrose in the garden this theme song flashes through my head! Call me crazy but I can’t separate the two! Just another example of how gardening has infiltrated my thinking at every level. And I am glad that Wanda the English Primrose does come again each year!

Besides her association with a catchy tune, Wanda has many endearing qualities in the garden. She is an easy going, reliably perennial, plant who makes a bright and pretty addition to the garden. Wanda is able to mix it up with her garden cohorts but could never be called aggressive. She’s a real team player!

The Wanda strain of primroses has been around for a long time and has always been popular. Wanda produces rich magenta purple flowers with yellow centers over a long bloom season. The attractive foliage has a bronze cast to it. Plants are low growing, typically no more than five or six inches high. They grow well under shrubs and taller perennials at the front of the border. I’ve included them in pots as well since they offer a hit of color at what can be a rainy grey time of year and are usually evergreen in our gardens.

Wanda may be in bloom anytime from December through late spring depending on the weather. I’ve even seen her push through the snow to show those intensely colored flowers. That’s a welcome surprise on a snowy day!

You probably won’t experience the “Wunda Wunda” phenomena that I do when you see this plant in bloom in your garden so why not give it a go? It’s an easy to grow beauty that will not disappoint and in a few years you could have a plant or two to “pass along!”

(Botanical Name: Primula Wanda)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years. 


Write as Rain March 9, 2016 at 4:47 PM  

Well I wasn't before but NOW I'll be singing Wunda Wunda every time I look out my office window and see my ever spreading patch of Wanda Primrose! With today's rain, they are a very welcome view.

Unknown March 12, 2016 at 9:04 AM  

Good thing you enjoy her company!

Tom Brody February 15, 2022 at 8:03 PM  

I lived in Seattle during the years, 1960 to 1964. At that time, I watched the Wunda, Wunda show, and I watched the J.P. Patches show, and I listened to KJR radio. We lived at 2115 Fifth Avenue West, and I attended Coe School. Recently, I bought four books about Seattle, from the IMAGES OF AMERICA series of books. One of these, "VANISHING SEATTLE," spells the show like this: "Wunda, Wunda." On the other hand, I have also seen the spelling, "Wanda, Wanda." Both of these two spellings are in frequent use, as shown by a Google search. My email address is this: I new live near Berkeley, California. If anybody knows which of these two spellings is correct, please let me know. Best regards, Tom

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