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Wisley's Alpine Diary

This entry: 16 September 2010 by Paul Cumbleton

Log 80

Wisley’s Alpine Log

By Paul Cumbleton

2010: Log 80…16 Sep

I reported in the forum the good news that we have been given the go ahead to build a crevice garden at Wisley. We plan to build it right outside the Alpine House in the area currently occupied by raised beds:

The three raised beds will be removed to make way for the crevice garden. The long bed at the back has a vertical drop of 0.8m and we will landscape from there down to create a slope.

The Display House is beginning to look very colourful again with the onset of the autumn flowering bulbs. These always make such a splash of colour.

The brilliant red flower in the picture is Cyrtanthus elatus from South Africa:

There are many other bulbs now on display in the house such as this Merendera montana:

The winter – growing South African bulbs are now emerging and some already flowering. The most spectacular of these are the Brunsvigias. This year, in its third time of flowering for us, B. bosmaniae has made a huge head with over 40 flowers in it:

Flowering for the first time is Brunsvigia pulchra and it really is beautiful. In the head of this species the flowers all stand upright so it looks a bit like a paint brush shape:

Here it is again closer up:

I give these bulbs the same treatment as all our other South African bulbs. The compost is 1 part John Innes no. 2, 1 part peat, and 2 parts grit. Watering commences at the beginning of September after a totally dry summer dormancy in a glasshouse that gets very hot in the sun – I think the heat may be an important factor in getting some of them to flower well. Also in flower are many of the Oxalis. One of my favourites in soft peach is Oxalis pulchella var. tomentosa:

Moving away from South Africa now, our Sterbergias have flowered particularly well this year:

Some of the best pots are of course out on display. This is S. lutea:

Several of the autumn-flowering Colchicums are also in bloom now. My favourite for the chequering on the petals is Colchicum agrippinum:

Finally for this week, thought my defences have stopped Sunny digging in our sand beds, she still manages to squeeze herself into a corner of it to sleep!

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