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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: Flaming June 2012 by Alan Oatway

Well, late again! I know its July already, and folks at Holehird will tell you that I've been absent again. What is retirement for if not to get out and about? By way of an unsubtle hint at where I've been this time, here is a shot of the King of the Alps in front of the Queen of the D........ nearly gave it away!

In fact, I could be forgiven for not writing an entry for June at all, as the month in Cumbria is best forgotten! Another record month, for the usual wrong reason! November 2009, July 2010, now June 2012  - all the wettest ever. Holehird had a mere 11 inches this time - no June has come close for over 100 years. And there are those who still deny Climate Change?

So the only thing flaming this Flaming June is the flame creeper, one of our happiest weeds! 

We have always tried to grow plants suited to "Lakeland conditions", and so many of our plants - if not so many of our true alpines - have been perfectly happy with the monsoon season. We have a planting of Cardiocrinum giganteum on a terrace immediately below a Sequoiadendron giganteum on the level above. It was a difficult dark spot that needed some brightening up, and the theory was that the tree might protect the bulbs from too much winter wet. The spring had us wondering whether it was going to prove too dry - we should not have worried, and we are now being treated to a spectacular display.

The month has also suited the moisture-loving primulas, which could have filled last month's issue and coule equally well fill this month. Many are still in full luxuriant growth, as the length of the P. viallii shows.

Time for some saxifrages now. There are good displays both indoors and out. The aptly named "Tumbling Waters" is thriving on a wall next to the member's building, but I show an exceelent plant flowering in the Display House. This is followed by the cultivar "Slack's Supreme", which is quite happy in a vertical situation on the main rock garden. My thanks to Pat Murphy for the first of these photographs: someone has to take the pictures during June so I can holiday! The same plant is still in good flower more than two weeks later - there's nothing like cool weather to prolong the season!

Although alpines have specific areas at Holehird, they also appear all around the garden, and I'll conclude this month with two photographs in the Walled Garden. Firstly, another monsoon-lover that also enjoys the partial shade that we call summer is the Roscoea - this one is R. auriculata "Floriade". It has recently been lifted and divided as its home has had a makeover, but it is still putting on a good show. Nearby are some fine stands of Dactylorhiza foliosa, and the second photograph shows the best group of this showy orchid.

Let's hope that the next few weeks produce a little more sunshine.

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