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Wisley's Alpine Diary

This entry: 15 November 2010 by Paul Cumbleton

Log 82

Wisley’s Alpine Log


By Paul Cumbleton


2010: Log 82…11 Nov

In preparing the site for the new crevice garden, the last thing we did before Zdenek arrived was to lay sand over the area. The whole garden is to be a sand-filled crevice, so a lot more sand than what you see here will be added as we go along.

People have been asking me for details of the rock to be used.  It is sandstone from Mine Train quarry in the Bixslade Valley in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This is the same source used for the stone in the crevice garden at Pershore. We chose this because the quarry owners, having worked with Pershore, were familiar with the concept of a crevice garden and understood the specification for the stone we wanted. It also has the highest rating for frost resistance so we should not get much disintegration if bad weather affects us. There is some difference however between our stone specification and Pershore’s in that we have opted for larger stone sizes. We will also raise the whole thing up, taking advantage of the 0.8m fall on the site, to create what we envisage as a bold and dramatic design.


Dear Zdenek (ZZ) arrived on the 2nd Nov last week. The first thing the following morning he was keen to make a start. I had to head off to a meeting but when I came back just a couple of hours later I was astonished at how much he had already done:

By coffee time on day 2, even more was accomplished:

With much material to move, it is important to use machinery to reduce the need for human handling as much as possible. The sand is brought on to site using a motorised barrow that can load itself via a bucket on the front and then tip to unload. Here is Peter Herman driving this:

The larger stones are handled by a forklift:

This can then tip them close to where they are required:

From there they can be levered, rolled or slid into place with the minimum work by hand. Here Zdenek adjusts a stone to its final position:

Here are some more views of where we had got to by the end of day 2:


This gap in the rocks in this picture marks the entrance to a “T” shaped area where there will be no rocks but will allow public access into the crevice garden:

Because there will be quite a weight of sand and rock above this to hold back, we are using the very largest of our pieces of rock along the back of this area. These have been put into a trench and then held in place by steel rods. This trench will then be filled with concrete so the large stones form a strong wall.

The sand filling the crevices needs to be firmed in, a long and tiring job that Chloe has been doing:

Finally here are some more pictures showing the progress by the end of day 3:






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