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Wisley's Alpine Diary

This entry: 05 April 2011 by Paul Cumbleton

Log 87

Wisley’s Alpine Log


By Paul Cumbleton


2011: Log 03…03 April

We’ve been extraordinarily busy….planting the crevice garden, preparing an exhibit for the forthcoming International conference, making arrangements for walks and talks, as well as the routine care of the department….so I apologise that my logs have been few and sporadic of late. Things should hopefully become a bit more manageable soon so Logs should revert to near normal frequency of appearance. Since the last Log, spring has well and truly sprung and we have had a wealth of colour and a burgeoning of new growth in the garden, all of which I shall share a little later in this log.


The last time I showed you the crevice garden it was covered in snow and we were unable to do any further work until this spring. Zdenek Zvolanek returned in early March to spend another fortnight helping us, doing the best part of all – planting! Here he is putting in the very first plant:


This first plant was a young Daphne x rollsdorfii ‘Wilhelm Schacht’. We have put quite a few daphnes in, all of them as young plants that will take time to establish but perhaps better because of it. As you will remember, this is a sand crevice garden; where we thought it may help, we have ameliorated this for individual plants by mixing into the sand other mediums. We are fortunate in having an old bag of tufa dust and this was added for various lime-loving plants.

This included the daphnes. Here is that first small plant:

Planting carried on for two weeks, with everyone in the department helping out at various times such as Anita here;

For now I’ll show just one other plant that we have put in, as it has already started to flower. This is Aubrieta glabrescens:

Another part that has now been completed is the surfacing of the area within the crevice garden that the public can walk into. For this, stone was cut to give flat surfaces and then laid in rows to echo the crevice theme:

Elsewhere, the meadow is looking great with swathes of Narcissus bulbocodium:

In various places Anemone blanda is making a good showing:

Corydalis solida in various colours has been good this year. This self seeds around where it is happy. This was a rather nice red one;

Just outside the gate to the alpine yard, these cherries have been drawing a lot of attention. They are Prunus pendula var. ascendens ‘Rosea’:

Getting even more attention, on the sand beds, this Daphne ‘Cheriton’ with its compact habit and glorious scent is a real winner:

The magnolias have been bursting out all over Wisley (our Director of Horticulture, Jim Gardiner, is passionate about these so Wisley has a lot!). These, at the top of the rock garden near the waterfall are Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’ – which is Wisley’s “Plant of The Month” for April:

Back in March, the two local groups of the AGS put on their now annual “World of Alpines” event at Wisley. Aimed at attracting more people to grow alpines and to join the society. they do various displays and demonstrations. Not least of these is David Philbey’s display of Primula, including many of his own hybrids. The first picture shows some of these, the second shows David (left) talking with Zdenek Zvolanek who was here during the event. Apologies for the quality of these images:

The International Conference is now almost upon us – I am really looking forward to this and to meeting all of you who are attending. There are many whose names I know through the various forums etc – please do come and say hello and so put faces to names for me!


Finally a couple of images to show how the Display House has been looking recently:

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