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 Club, Alpine 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.