Alpine & Rockery
What are Alpine Plants?
Alpine plants are plants that grow in an alpine climate, usually at higher altitudes. Alpines grow in clumps in some pretty harsh conditions that other plants wouldn’t survive such as small cracks in rocks and dying tree trunks.
In recent years alpines have an acquired a reputation for being hard to grow and only suitable for specialist gardeners, this is far from the truth and there are many varieties available that are easy to plant and take very little, if any; watering and maintenance.
Why grow alpines?
With the ever increase in hosepipe bans across the UK due to the climate change causing dryer summers, it is important for us to find plants that are more drought resistant. The good news is that there are plenty of alpine plants, which produce beautiful flowers throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn. Sedum is a great plant and is often grown on shed roofs throughout the country, creating additional green areas that are full of wildlife. With modern gardens becoming much smaller alpines can be grown in a limited space.
Alpines can be grown in a rock garden, a sink, a trough placed on a patio or even in crevices between stones in patios and pathways.
When is the best time to buy and plant?
The best time to buy alpines is whenever you see a plant that you like! Alpines are available all throughout the year, as with other plants certain species are seasonal so you may not get them at another time if you wait until Spring for example.
The best time to plant them out is March/April as the soil is starting to warm up, although you can plant them at any time of the year. With a March/April planting the roots will grow more vigourously and be able to settle before the warmer weather in the summer. If the weather isn’t too hot then September and October can also be a good time for planting.
How to plant
You may be surprised how long the roots are on most alpine plants, once you take them out of their pots gently tease put the roots and you will find that many plants in 7cm pots have roots 30-60cm long! Dig a hole the same diameter as the pot, lower the loostened plant into the hole and widen/deepen the hole if necessary, then gently refill it firming the soil as you go. Once planted use a heavy layer of coarse gravel over the top to supress weeds and give a heavy watering, if you have planted in the Spring you may never need to water the p[ant again.
Drought-tolerant Starter Plants
Grey foliage and pink four-petalled flowers; short lived but seeds about without being a nuisance. Typical flowering size 10cm x 10cm.
A garden favourite for over a century. Flowers in many colours: white, pink, red, purple. Typical flowering size 8cm x 40cm.
A Turkish pink dandelion with grey-green foliage. Well-behaved: does not seed down. Flowers all summer Typical flowering size 10cm x 20cm.
From chalk downlands but grows in any soil. Deep roots. Do not move once planted. Many named forms with flowers in white, pink, lilac, violet, purple. Typical flowering size 20cm x 20cm.
From the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. Pale pink buttercup flowers on and off throughout the year.
Typical flowering size 15cm x 10cm.
The houseleeks are tough! There are hundreds of species and cultivars in a rainbow of different colours, many of which change with the seasons.Typical flowering size 10cm x 15cm.
Grey foliage and sheets of pink flowers in late spring – early summer.
Typical flowering size 5cm x 30cm.
Pale, fresh green foliage and white or pale pink flowers in summer. Highly scented! Typical flowering size 3cm x 40cm.
Darker green foliage. Flowers white – deep red – purple in summer. Bees love it.
Typical flowering size 3cm x 30cm.