Alpine Plants

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This week we are looking at Alpine Plants.  Essentially that's any plant that lives in high mountains, above the tree line out in the open.  It doesn't have to be from the Alps, it can be from the Himalayas it can be from the Andes in Chille it can be from the mountains of Tazmania in Australia, but these plants grow out in the open in exposed areas.

They're usually pretty tough, they often grow in screeds and rocky mountainsides and they are wind tolerant, in fact ideal really for Scottish conditions which is why Alpines are a very popular plant to grow in Scotland. 

In this display here we've mulched all these little alpine plants with rocks and slate chips. I really like slate chips for this. The great advantage of that is it stops the weeds coming up and they also look very nice. It mimicks many of the conditions that these plants growing in the wild, growing in crevices and cracks in rocks and so on.


The great thing about these plants is if you've only got a small garden you can cram in a lot of plants.  We've got a table top garden as a demonstration. Its probably two and a half meters by a meter and a half. We've got about 25 different plants in here for pretty much season long colour starting in March/April with some of these early Alpines here like Saxaphridges and primula denticulata. 

What we are looking at here is gardening in a truly minature scale if you really have got very little room, little alpine troughs like this filled with Alpines are absolutely perfect , you can fit them in a little court yard or even possibly on a window box.

The ultimate in minatures here is a tiny little two rocks and two little plants, everygreen, its also got a lovely little piece of liken here so this is probably the ultimate miniturisation of gardening for those with very little space.

You'll see these Alpine Troughs here are finnished off with little rocks and grit and little chips sometimes in diffirent colours which makes them look good all the year round.  Or you can start yourself with an empty trough, the most important this is to make sure the drainage hole is not blocked up so its good to put a piece of cork or a little stone on top of that and they like gritty soil so when your mixing your compost get some grit to add into the compost cause most of these plants need really sharp drainage.  

If you need any other information about Alpines or any of the other things that we have been discussing on these videos, any aspect of gardening pop into Glendoick Garden Centre on the Perth, Dundee Road, visit our website and like us on Facebook where you'll get these videos every week when they come out."


Ken Cox is the resident Small City, Big Personality Garden columnist and expert. Born in 1964 into a family of renowned plantsmen, Kenneth Cox is grandson of planthunter, writer and nurseryman Euan Cox and son of Peter Cox VMH. The three generations were and are considered  the world's leading experts on rhododendrons. 


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