Primrose, not shamrock, is First Lady's gift from Irish
It is traditional for Ireland's prime minister to pay an official visit to the White House on St. Patrick's Day, and the gift is, traditionally, shamrocks, often displayed in a Waterford chrystal bowl or vase.
But this year, the prime minister's wife, Mrs. Fionnuala Kenny, presented first lady Michelle Obama with a white wicker basket filled with 20 white primroses, bred in Ireland this year to honor the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration.
The primroses were bred at FitzGerald Nurseries by hybridizer Joseph Kennedy -- names that certainly have the ring of memory in the United States.
The primrose is called "Drumcliff," and is named after the final resting place of the famous Irish poet, W.B. Yeats.
It was propagated in County Wexford, Ireland, and grown to flowering size in County Kilkenny and then shipped to Heronswood Nursery in Pennsylvania, from which it can be purchased.
A second variety of primrose, called "Innisfree," after the Yeats poem, "Lake Isle of Innisfree," is also available and can be purchased from Heronswood.