Wisley's Alpine Diary Discussion: 29 May 2011
Started by: Tim Ingram
Log 89Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 03 December 2011, 16:29. Go to bottom of this page.
I haven't been to Wisley for a while so very nice to see these pictures on the Diary. Stachys lavandulifolia is strongly back on my wish list after growing it years ago from seed, but never as good as the photo. Really great and highly distinctive plant.
The sand beds interest me especially and I haven't grown any cacti on mine - the Echinocereus is pretty dramatic in flower. I understand now why there is such a big interest in them in America on the NARGS site. I expect most gardeners think they are just not hardy enough to grow in the UK. Eriogonums have always fascinated me and look to be ideal plants for sand beds - I shall follow the details of the new Society devoted to them! Look forward to seeing how the new crevice garden develops!
Looking at various pictures of Stachys lavandulifolia, it seems it is quite variable and so I think the one I photograqphed at Wisley seems to be quite a good form. I would like to have more of it, to try in the crevice garden and the sand beds so I will see if I can get cuttings going. The AGS encyclopedia suggets late summer as a good time to try.
The cacti attract great attention form our visitors, especially when in flower. I often get asked why I have mixed cacti with alpines and it gives me a good opportunity to explain that many cacti are genuinely alpine plants - the highest grow at over 15,000 feet in the Andes. The dryness in the winter is the key thing, so covers are essential in the UK, but if you can provide this then a large percentage of cacti are quite hardy.
I also love the eriogonums and they are indeed excellent for sand beds so I would highly recommend you try them.
Paul mentioned how good these plants are on a sand bed. On the NARGS website there is a reminder that the Eriogonum Society now has its seedlist available. See:
I am not a member yet but membership is only $10, the equivalent of just two or three packets of seed from commercial sources - very good value and an opportunity to learn a lot more about this fascinating and distinctive group of plants.