07 April 2014 By Billy Hawkins
We attended RHS Wisley for a workshop on creating our own Alpine environments. We were incredibly lucky to have been in the Alpine House at this time of year, accompanied by such enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable teachers.
We were inspired to try creating alpine environments in a variety of attractive ways – in imitation of the Crevice garden, built in 2011 by ZeeZee, a Czech landscaper who employs this method frequently in his native country. Within each crevice, small micro climates are created for different types of plants, but it is very much trial and error to see what the possibilities are. The only maintenance required is watering, weeding and replanting where gaps appear. The Daphne in particular has been a nice surprise for the team – providing a good display and delicious scent.
It is always flattering for us when someone with the alpine plant authority and knowledge, says that they reserve the very best plants, at the height of their fabulousness, for the Alitex greenhouse (which is the Wisley Alpine house). They pick out the best looking plants from behind the scenes to display to the public – without doubt the plants we saw were all magnificent so it is amazing how selections are made!
Top tips for creating your own Alpine Environment
- Control the water your alpine plants intake through their terracotta pots by removing them from their wet sand surround and soaking them thoroughly. Don’t rely on watering in situ as the water will leach by osmosis to the drier surrounding area.
- No misting was necessary as alpine plants would develop fungal disease. The plants were kept at an optimum cool temperature of 5/6 degrees centigrade, replicating the harsh conditions of the Alps.
Learn more about Alpines from this dedicated book (Kew Books)
Thank you to the Alpine Team for a great and knowledge filled day.