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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: August 2012 by Alan Oatway

Much of this month's entry will feature outdoor plants, and I'll begin on the scree bed in front of the Display House. This bed has a very deep gravel mulch that not only aids drainage but also soaks up any heat that is coming from above. This has helped a collection of Erodium to be established, and these are providing a cheery welcome to the area at the moment. The first photograph is of Erodium x kolbianum, and this is followed by E. "Fran's Delight"

Moving on to the rock garden, there is a danger that the eye is caught by the autumn flowering gentians, to the expense of all else! That would be a shame, as there is much other colour and interest around. Saxifraga fortuneii cultivars do well for us, and some of these have very strong colours at this tme of year, but outshining them right now is Mukdenia rossii "Crimson Fans".

One of the earliest of the gentians is G. paradoxa, and this has been flowering well - even if the one I have photographed has been eaten a little! It has been almost impossible to control the numbers of molluscs in the garden this year - the climate clearly suits them.

Willow gentians are also in flower now, and as well as the trademark blue, there is a fine white form. Both colours are visible in the photograph.

On a rock outcrop lower down the garden, there has been a fine shwoing from a planting of Cyananthus lobatus. This plant really seems to flower well when its stems can trail across the surface of the rock, and its colour is very welcome as it tends to come into flower before the gentians.

I will now move under cover, as there are good plants to see in the two houses. I mentioned the molluscs earlier, and one way to keep Campanulae in this part of the world is indoors!  Campanula "Blythe Spirit" is shown in our Display House. This is followed by the final photograph this month, of Convolvulus sabatius, clearly enjoying its position tumbling down over the tufa cliff next to the water feature in the Tufa House.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this entry was submitted from a caravan site in the Highlands, after extensive ground frost. August delights!

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