Garden Editor Ethne Clarke writes:
Auriculas are truly floral antiques, grown since the mid-1500s by aristocratics and artisans alike. My own auricula collecting began in England because I lived near Norwich, which enjoyed a centuries-old tradition of hosting Florists' Feasts-at least, that was my excuse. Really, it was the flowers' strange colorings. I was particularly drawn to the green-and-black petaled sorts that have a yellow tube at their center surrounded by a ring of white farina, a silvery white paste, which is an integral part of the flowers' beauty. These are the true Show auriculas, grown in greenhouses or on window ledges to protect the blooms from weather damage.
Pictured here: 'Watchet'
Photograph by Derek St. Romaine