Wisley's Alpine Diary Discussion: 25 June 2011
Started by: Tim Ingram
Log 91Go to latest contribution by Paul Cumbleton, 08 July 2011, 08:14. Go to bottom of this page.
Really interesting to hear more about the sand beds at Wisley. So far I haven't fed the bed I have made, and it is certainly the case that some plants have taken a while to really grow away. The bigger plants, I am sure, have rooted down through the sand and reached the soil below (my bed is a ground level rather than raised as those at Wisley). I have watered the bed thoroughly several times during this dry spring, partly because there are quite a few young plants on the bed, and this will have kept a good bank of moisture in the gritty-sand and the soil below. A plant of Asplenium ceterach, which indicates drought by curling its leaves, never shown stress so far.
I wonder how many visitors are taken by the sand beds at Wisley and might consider something similar at home! It is such a relatively simple way of growing some very exciting plants, and the cacti in particular must generate a lot of comment.
Yes, the sand beds get a lot of attention from our visitors. The fact that they are raised beds is I think a significant factor in the need to feed - many plants will not have their roots all the way down to the soil underneath so are literally totally in pure sand. The same is true in the crevice garden - here the highest points are 2 meters above soil level and its sand all the way down. Even if they managed to get down the 2 meters, the underlying soil is itself rather sandy anyway, so offers little to hold any nutrients. With hindsight, I wish we had mixed some loam in with the sand in the crevice garden. All too late now! - but with attention I think things will still do well.