A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens
This entry: Spring! by Alan Oatway
Finally, it seems that a pretty cool winter is drawing to a close. It has been a busy winter, culminating of course in the Kendal Show in mid March. Holehird folk were a great help in running the Show, supplementing the manpower available to the local AGS group, and their help was greatly appreciated. You just can't keep good volunteers down! Folk from warmer climes helped keep the Show benches well-stocked: the Intermediate Section features in the photo that follows, along with the Holehird display and a couple of stalwart stewards!
In the garden during the winter, several activities have kept us busy and, when necessary, warm! One area of the Rock Garden suffered from the presence of an old Acer stump that was quite difficult to disguise - and no contractor wanted to risk their machinery due to the rocks. So the solution was to hire a machine and insure the cutters - and a small and manouverable machine was chosen. Definitely a two-man job, but now that it has been done, a significant planting opportunity! This has already been utilised with a planting of Meconopsis "Alaska" (previously thought to be M. betonicifolia as opposed to M.baileyii), Lilium speciosum and Eryngium alpinum - with space for further additions.
A second project has seen a raised bed re-furbished. Not a free-standing bed, more a retaining wall with a double top, its contents had settled badly over the years and were in need of some help. An opportunity arose: a member of the Hardy Plant Society was moving, and the house being left was to be demolished to make room for more. Its limestone rockery was available to anyone with the energy to collect the stone! Holehird's normal conditions are acidic, so it seemed a good thing to turn this raised bed into a lime-lovers bed, both as a contrast, and also to see if some species that don't normally do well here do indeed prefer their limey alternative. The truth may be that they just don't like our climate! Anyway, an image of work in progress.
The weather has just turned warm enough to contemplate planting out this new bed, so images will follow. Typically, it has also turned dryer, and even here the new plantings have needed the attention of the watering can! In our Tufa House, it's custodian has also been busy on this task.
The two saxifages on the right of that picture are well worth a closer look - a pity they can't be used on the show bench!
A further plant that caught the eye in alongside was Primula marginata - and for contrast, I include a couple of outdoor images after the indoor one.
That last picture could be in the mountains!
Lastly, the Alpine Display House has been looking fabulous recently, so it's right to include an image from there, a floriferous pot of Soldanella hungarica.