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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: August 2014 by Alan Oatway

I nromally try to concentrate on areas of the garden with alpine interest, but this month, I could not resist starting with an extended look at the Walled Garden. There are borders all round the perimeter, and large island beds within. All are currently looking fabulous, and the relatively cool spells in August have kept the displays looking equally good over a long period. So let's take a look!

The Acer palmatum Sango-kaku near the back of the last photograph, (with Bowfell behind) is already showing autumnal hue, and has been for some time. Other tree colour is already evident too, perhaps encouraged by the cool August, and I feel sure that there will be some spectacular colour in the coming weeks. The Cercidiphyllum japonicum by the main drive is going to be at its best very soon now.

Another area of the garden with good colour right now is on the fellside, where there are borders devoted to heathers. I particularly like the Daboecias, and the image that follows is of Daboecia cantabrica ssp. scotica "Jack Drake": a plant with obvious alpine connections!

Outside the Alpine House, on the scree bed there, many Erodiums are flowering well, but perhaps the most striking plant is the Zauschneria californica "Glasnevin".  In our climate, the extra warmth provided by the scree mulch helps plant produce flowers.

Inside the Display House, two plants caught my attention. I enjoy Campanulas, but find the constant battle with slugs one that I invariably lose outdoors. Inside, a little more control is achievable, and the hybrid C. x haylodgensis has been looking very good. And hailing from the USA is Townsendia incana.

Back outdoors, two plants to finish with this month that are back on our "home ground" of moisture-lovers. Firstly, Arisaema costatum, not to everyone's taste, but showing the intriguing flower structure as well as the fine architectural leaves. And finally, I  would be in trouble with the holder of the National Collection of large blue Meconopsis if I failed to include a picture of the Mec in flower at the moment. Blue it isn't, but big it certainly is! Naming it with any certainty is not possible. Following the Meconopsis, there is an image of a visitor spotted in our growing-on frames the other day.

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