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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: May 2013 by Alan Oatway

Once again, Holehird is grateful to our Northumberland diarist for including photographs and commentary following his recent visit to the gardens -

http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/diaries/Northumberland/+June+/476/

saving me the need to show you the treasures on display in the Tufa House last week.

My own entry is delayed by me stealing a couple of days up north. At the back end of May, the alpines on the fells were spectacular, and I show the Anemone nemorosa - not sign of any wood - and then the Saxifraga oppositifolia. The latter were very prolific, making as fine a display as any alpine anywhere.

So back home - and back to the beginning of the month - when the aforementioned Tufa House was still alive with Saxifrages. The photograph shows S. x edithae "Bridget", which we do also grow outside, but seeing it at eye level under cover does help appreciate it to the full. Outdoors, Fritillaria persica was making a fair attempt to emulate its stature in the wild, so a photograph of that follows.

By the middle of the month, the Rock Garden was very colourful. An enthusiastic party of visitors from across the channel were all over the rocks, and my limited fluency in French was challenged in trying to warn them how slippery the rocks are! I had to resort to mountaineering terms such as verglas - although it wasn't that cold!

The first photograph is a general view, with Meconpsis punicea in the foreground, Primula frondosa towards the right, and Rhododendron Carmen dominating the background. This is followed by a well-flowering specimen of R. Curlew.

Sorry, I see my typing is not so good and that should be Meconopsis punicea - I should learn how to edit these entries.

Rhododendron Curlew

Theselast two photographs are from the 22nd May, as are the remainder of this diary entry. Starting inside the Display House, with Androsace studiosorum, and then moving to the scree in front of the house for Dryas drummondii. I feel sure this plant should be seen more often, and I hope it will become more floriferous as it develops. Early indications are that it is much tidier than the better-known octopetala. 

And to draw to a close, it is May, so it must be Primulas! The earliest of the candelabra type to flower here are P.chungensis and P. pulverulenta. There are some fresh plantings of the latter in the garden this year, and that by the cascade features in the first photograph. It can self-seed very freely when content - but it is still a delight for all that. P.chionantha is also grown in several places, and I have chosen to show a group of the purple form (ssp. sinopurpurea) growing in a "Primula Bed" on the Lower Terrace. And to conclude, I show a plant rarely seen in gardens, namely P.calderiana. The flowers are of velvety appearance, and I hope we succeed in enabling these plants to flourish.

And as I sign off with P. calderiana, I hope I may be more punctual with my entry at the end of June. SInce a flower-hunting trip to northern Italy beckons in the meantime, this may be wishful thinking!

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