Sunday, 28 April 2013

New trough planting

Now that the weather is warming up it has been time to get to work on the numerous plants I have sitting around the garden and in the cold frame waiting to be planted either in the garden or in their assigned containers.

I have put together a trough to show of my collection of Sempervivums, hens and chicks to most of us.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was very kindly given a small collection by a gardening friend and along with a few I have purchased over winter I finally got round to finding a home for some of them.

Crocks were added to the base of the pot and a growing medium of John Innes No2 and Horticultural Grit to a ratio of 50/50.  After planting and watering a mulch of Alpine Grit was used over the whole surface.  This will reduce water splash and help prevent rot.



A couple of pieces of slate and an old clay pot was used as decoration.  Along with the Sempervivums, Sedum hakone Chocolate Ball, Sedum pachyclados and Sedum Purpurteppich have been added for varying colour and texture.  It will be interesting to see this fill out as the summer progresses - watch this space!
Offsets and cuttings will be taken to over winter in a cold frame to ensure I have replacement plants should I need them.

The second container getting a make over is my attempt at creating a mini garden through the use of alpine plants.  You may remember some of the beautiful display in a previous blog about my visit to the SRGC Show at the beginning of April.    



For this container, I used a 50/50 mix of John Innes No 2 and Horticultural Grit.  An appropriate amount of  garden lime was added to the mixture.  All the plants require or are tolerant of alkaline/lime conditions or at least they should be if I've done my homework correctly!  Prior to planting, tufa rocks were added for effect.  Experienced mini garden growers will use tufa rock with holes drilled out so that the plant can colonise the rocks.  Something I intend to give a go once I get a bit more experience but lets not run before I can walk.

Plants I used in this container:
Erysimum kotschyanum, Globularia repens, Raoulia australis, Saxifraga iranica cumulus, Saxifraga x boydilacina Pink Star, Saxifraga burseriana Gloria, Saxifraga biasolettio, Sedum pachyclados, Sempervivum Kelly Jo, Sempervivum arachnoid.
Some of the plants I have used

Apparently the more you cram in the smaller the plants will remain.  As the seasons move forward I will source other plants which will flower at different times, therefore extending the interest to year round.

After planting, the whole pot is treated to a gravel mulch - again as a preventative measure against water damage as well as making conditions similar to how these plants would grow naturally.  The temperatures some of these plants experience in the wild is way colder than we experience in Scotland - therefore are hardy enough.  Winter wet issues will be addressed by means of a cloche.  

Both of these containers require a full sun situation - they are taking pride of place in a sunny corner on the deck, where I can admire them....should I ever find time to sit still long enough!!  In the likely hood that Scotland should experience a heatwave (I say that with tongue in cheek!) shade will need to be provided for the Saxifragas in particular.    

Have you ever tried growing a mini garden?  What were your experiences? I'd love to hear about them.
Alpine plants, are I suppose, considered specialist by many but having admired these beauties from afar for a very long time, I admit that I'm really looking foward to this learning curve.  Who knows, one day I may even progress to an dedicated Alpine House.....I'm allowed to dream, aren't I?

Thank you for joining me on the first rung of the Alpine Grower's ladder!

If you are interested in finding out more about alpine plant growing, there are quite literally thousands of websites out there.  A few useful ones are Scottish Rock Garden ClubAlpine Garden Society or North American Rock Garden Society.  They are good place to start as a point of reference - other countries will no doubt have their own societies.  If you know of such, please let me know and I'll be happy to add a link.

25 comments:

  1. I have discovered alpines in the last year and have quite a few in pots but none as a group in a pot. I struggle to find alpine grit, I had sourced some and now they have stopped getting it!! I will have to ask at my local group where they get there. I love alpines as they are just so gorgeous and generally easy

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    1. I'm hoping they are going to be easy Helen :)
      B&Q do a large sized bag for just under a fiver. I don't know however, if it's what the serious growers use.
      I know my local nursery also uses Chicken grit on the top of some of their pots. I keep meaning to look out for that.

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  2. I shall have to add an alpine garden to my wish list...serious case of plant envy going on here (and it's not pretty!) :-)

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    1. Go for it Jane - we can learn together!

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  3. Having a garden that is full of heavy clay, growing alpines in troughs or on the alpine scree is the only way I can grow them. Troughs are like tiny gardens in themselves but they do need attention and weeding just like any other gardening I'm afraid, in spite of a mulch of grit!

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    1. My soil is too rich for them to grow in the garden Pauline and like you this will be the only way I can attempt to get them to do well. I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to weeding, so generally don't find that an issue. Too much time on my hands probably!!

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  4. I grow a lot of succulents and, like you, I tend to start out giving them plenty of room. Eventually, they fill in and look perfect for a year or two, then need to be divided and used to start something new. They are so easy to start from cuttings that I have an endless supply for making cute little hostess gift, etc. I may have to try alpines next, after soaking up your tips.

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    1. Ricki - I'm pleased to read that I'll get plenty cuttings :)
      Good luck with your alpine attempt, I look forward to seeing what you do.

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  5. Yes I have some alpines not so many like you in pots. You have a real wonderful collection.

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    1. Thank you Janneke, I hope I can learn to keep them as a wonderful collection!

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  6. Your containers are wonderful. Some choice looking plants used to make them up also.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher, they are lovely plants. I hope I can keep them going!

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  7. I've never grown alpine plants but they do fascinate me. Your alpines look great. I think, like you, if I started growing them I would want to keep expanding my collection!

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    1. Wendy, it's a new fascination for me too! I hope I can expand my collection as I get more confidence.

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  8. I have some alpine plants dotted around, but I love the look of your mini garden using them. I think they look really attractive when they're planted together in containers.

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    1. Paula - I have a few dotted around the garden too and they generally don't do very well.
      I love them in containers, hence my attempt at this :)

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  9. I've never grown alpines, and I've never even thought about growing them in a pot! What a great idea - and so cute!

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    1. Holley - it's easier for me to grow them in pots as my soil is far to rich for them. It's all about drainage for most of them. You should give them a go!

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  10. Lovely choice of alpines Angie :-)
    The closest I have been to growing alpines in my garden was 4 pulsatillas I got as a present many years ago. They didn't like my soil of course, neither did they like the dappled shade I have in most of my 'filled to the rim garden'. It is hard to find a space in my garden where the sun is always shining - if we have sunshine, growing alpines in containers is a great idea, might copy you there, if I could only find a space for yet another container!

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    1. I haven't tried pulsatillas yet Helene. I keep looking at them and saying no!! I don't know why though.
      I'm sure you could find a tiny wee spot for a little container for a couple of plants. They are lovely too look at and the pot needn't be large. Being that the plants are reasonably cheap - a couple of pound each, it doesn't cost much either.
      Good luck if you give them a go.

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  11. I remember reading about your ideas of starting this mini-gardens in your previous posts. So, I am now excited to see that they are being started. I will be waiting eagerly to see how they fill out the space. The names are so difficult; I could not even pronounce. I could only recognize saxifrage as I recently got two.

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    1. The names are very difficult KL - I generally don't bother, I wouldn't know where to begin for some of them either ;)
      I'm glad I finally got round to getting these done - a few of them flowered in the cold frame and have now gone over, which is a shame but that will give them time to settle for next spring!
      I will do regular updates.

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  12. Your alpines look great and I feel you will get so into it I will call it your Angie house. We have a garden centre nearby who have a large range of these alpine plants. I wont even have to do any more research at this stage, bag of John Innes No. 2 and a bag of grit and Bobs yer uncle.

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  13. Fascinating little plants...love the look of them.

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