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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: June 2013 by Alan Oatway

June is still with us, if only just, as I add this entry. Many subjects have continues to flourish this year, although there are, as always, some casualties. Rabbits may be to blame! The three-year trial of Meconopsis is drawing to its close, and recommendations for Award of Garden Merit are in hand. Flowering has been late here, with the infertile blue group being in good shape in the second week, but George Sherrif cultivars only just beginning to fade with the month. Photos of the two groups follow.

A variety of monocarpic species have been rewarding our efforts this year. M.racemosa has flowered over a long period, the initial raceme on most plants being followed by a number of single flowers on basal scapes. Seed acquired as M.horridula from the AGS exchange has also come good, and the photograph shows a couple of blooms from the plants displayed in the Alpine House.

And before I leave a favourite genus, it is always good to see a true species from the tall evergreen types, and currently flowering on the Lower Terrace is a plant of M. staintonii. It's companions here succumbed to winter wet despite the provision of covers, but groups of plants exist in private gardens and it is hoped that a good seed crop will be forthcoming. It is a hard plant to photograph, as it stands well over 2m tall, so what follows is the top bit!

And moving on to other subjects, I want to show you the Davidia involucrata. The specimen at Holehird is a fine one, and its handkerchiefs this year have been magnificent. The first view shows the tree - with some figures beyond to give scale. The second shows the bracts themselves: the whole tree was covered as densely as in this small section.

And so back to alpines, and out into the open garden. There has been some work going on on the Rock Garden, reducing over-mature shrubby growth. Under one such bush, a number of Ourisia plants were discovered, and these are now in flower. They lacked a label, but the pink colour is reminiscent of O."Loch Ewe".

On the scree beds in front of the Display House, Dianthus alpina and Saxifrage "Whitehills" are looking very good at the month's end.

The lovely Tulipa sprengeri is not a recent planting on the Rock Garden, but it is slow to increase. It is a welcome addition to the colourful display, this year in the middle of the month.

And to finish indoors, firstly in the Display House, there have been some lovely Campanulaceae on show. Campanula "Joe Elliott", hybrid between C.morettiana and C.raineri is shown first. The second plant has abandoned its pot and is flowering across the plunge. I wasn't convinces by its label, and wonder whether it might be C. thessala. Concluding a triumvirate is Physoplexis comosa, if only to celebrate the fact that I found clowering plants in the wild ten days ago!

It has become usual to include something from our Tufa House, and this month is no exception. Two more stunning plants further emphasis the value of this environment for growing alpines in the north-west. I've managed to get them in the same photograph: the foreground is provided by Saxifraga cochlearis var.minor, whilst in the background can be seen Verbascum "Letitia" - a lovely plant but not one suited to outdoor culture here.

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