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Wisley's Alpine Diary

This entry: 08 July 2010 by Paul Cumbleton

Log 76

Wisley's Alpine Log

By Paul Cumbleton

2010: Log 76... 8 July

I concluded the last log by showing two Calochortus species. Since then another has flowered, Calochortus weedii, one of the yellow ones with hairy petals:

At home this year I also flowered C. obispoensis for the first time. Although small, the flower has great charm. The plant carries several flowers up a branching stem about 30 cm tall; here is just one of them in close-up:


Back at Wisley, another first for me has been the extraordinarily bright flowers of Hypseocharis pimpinellifolia. Grown from a Flores & Watson seed collection, it makes a long taproot and a crown of bright green dissected leaves setting off the bright flower:

Outside, one small feature that must be one of the most photographed bits of the department is a simple log with Sempervivums planted in a split. Everyone seems to like this idea as something they could easily replicate in their own gardens:

In the area around our large waterfall are various moisture-loving plants that revel in the wet conditions that exist here. The Primulas have been very good throughout June, though now fading as we head into July. The one below is one of the Harlow Carr hybrids:

When we think of Penstemon, especially the alpine ones, we would not immediately think of a genus of moisture lovers. But there is one that revels in wet conditions and will grow happily in sun or shade too. This is Penstemon serrulatus. The flowers may be blue-mauve to dark purple and there is also a white form which you can see at the top of this photo where it has got in amongst the mauve form. P. serrulatus is a very good and easily grown garden plant that provides some colour after many other alpines have finished flowering:

Staying for a moment with the wet theme, the bog garden we created last year for carnivorous plants has been looking really good and attracting a lot of interest from visitors. Despite the very cold winter, we did not lose any plants and the feature has thus very much fulfilled its purpose of demonstrating that some of these plants are hardy and can be grown outside all year round.

At the opposite end of the scale, in requiring dry conditions, Berkheya multijuga has been putting on a great performance on our South African bed. Large yellow daisies from a very prickly thistle!

June also sees the peak of flowering for the Dactylorrhiza orchids, particularly on the meadow, But many escape this area and sow themselves arounf the rock garden. This rather fine pale one put itself here a few years ago and has thrived since.

Also reaching their peak in mid to late June are the Ponerorchis. There are just one or two of these which I am at last managing to build up into small potfuls which make a much better display than a single tuber in a pot, which is how they all started out.

The one above is pictured in close up below:

I particularly like those forms which have a purple/white combination of colours. Here are a couple of these types to finish the log with for this week:


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