Monday, 10 March 2014

Planting alpines

It's been a glorious weekend!  What a relief after such a wet winter!
We've brought spring indoors this year, with these three little plant pots.  We fill them with spring bulbs - miniature narcissus, and now some grape hyacinths.  

There's a trough of flowers in front of the porch, full of pansies all winter, and now the bulbs are doing their thing.  I know realise that I planted crocus bulbs along one side of the trough and daffs along the other, with the intention that the daffs would be at the back, and I put the trough down the wrong way round.  Crocuses at the back.  *sigh*  It's too heavy to turn around now, and in any case, the daffs would all be looking at the wall if I did turn it round.  The crocuses will just have to remain a little secret...

It must have been a bumper weekend at the garden centres, with the lovely weather.  We certainly did our share!  We got a lovely new rose to climb up our arch.  This one's got a great reputation for beautiful flowers and disease resistance.  

We got this lovely tub a few weeks ago.  It's wide and shallow, so I immediately thought of alpines.  I love alpines - they're like perfect little jewels.  We put the tub on bricks to make sure it can drain properly.  Remembered to do that before filling it - a small but important point!

Compost for alpines needs to be really free-draining.  It's almost half-and-half compost and grit.  I always think it looks like a fruit cake mix when it's right.  (Don't ask about my fruit cakes.  They're probably about as edible as the contents of the alpine pot!)

And here it is planted up!  Saxifrage, sedums, variegated aubretia and houseleeks.  Little jewels, set off by a covering of coarse grit to help the drainage.

We did have another little trough with houseleeks in it, that was falling to bits.  Himself made it from a recipe given out by Geoff Hamilton on Gardeners World years ago.  A pretend stone alpine trough.  It doesn't last as long as stone, but twenty years or so is reasonable, I suppose.  I took the houseleeks out and replanted them in a little pot.  They're so easy to grow that they'll soon fill out and take it over.  

And this is the results of our gardening afternoon.  A pretty alpine pot, a little pot of houseleeks, and the rose is planted next to the arch.  You can't really see it yet, but it should take off soon.  There's a big row of primroses in the background.  They come up every spring, and we're aiming to spread them right along the edge of that border.

I must confess, I have another alpine border.  Yes, I like these little plants.  I had a couple of plants left over from the pot (it was a special offer at the garden centre...) so I popped them in here to replace a couple that had gone tatty.  

These pots are waiting for some roses.  Himself is shopping around for some nice roses to be specimen plants.  Penny (who completely wore herself out with excitement that Mummy and Daddy were playing in the garden) thinks they're for her to play in.


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