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Plants in the Garden: Planting in troughs

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Started by: Helen Johnstone

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 06 October 2012, 13:38. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Helen Johnstone 05 October 2012, 19:49top / bottom of page

I was reading on D'Arcy & Everest website that you can get troughs that are light weight so easy to move - would these be hypaturf troughs and if so where would you get them or do you have to make them?

Also why do people tend to grow in stone troughs? Is it because they have a rocky appearance? Does anyone grow alpines in more modern looking containers such as an old galvanished tin bath. (I can hear the sharp intakes of breath now!) I was just wondering whether it was an aesthetic thing or whether the stone troughs aided cultivation

Contribution from Tim Ingram 06 October 2012, 09:53top / bottom of page

Helen, perhaps I should reply to you on your blog! I think most alpine gardeners would give their eye teeth for real old stone sinks - they just look so 'right'. But given that you haven't just won the lottery artificial sinks made of hypertufa, or old glazed sinks covered in the same are very effective. Really though I can't see there are any limits to what you might grow plants in given your own particular aesthetic. Ian Young has pioneered the use of polystyrene fishboxes which have the huge advantage of light weight and transportability. In the latest NARGS Quarterly Joe DiMattio shows some shallow oval glazed troughs made by his wife, sitting up high on cylindrical terracotta pillars. They look really good. Rather than even troughs, a few large rocks put together to make a simple outcrop can be dramatic in itself. There is great scope for artistic sensibility as well as putting plants together. If I was starting again with a smaller garden troughs and containers would be a real priority because of the opportunity to provide very varied conditions for all sorts of plants.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 06 October 2012, 10:08top / bottom of page

I couldn't help just adding this picture of a metal bucket (but a well chosen bucket!) planted up in Capt. Peter Erskine's garden! (Certainly one of the finest alpine gardens in the country). A few lumps of tufa and just two or three plants - just so satisfying. An old tin bath sounds ideal and would give a lot of scope for all sorts of plants.

Contribution from Helen Johnstone 06 October 2012, 12:26top / bottom of page

Thanks Tim - I saw a galvanished dish planted up on the Scottish Societys forum which made me wonder about the tin bath I have looking for a use in the garden. I have an old sink but at some point it has been covered in cement which is making it ridiculously heavy. I am wondering about whether to try and chip off the cement (some of it has already started to come away) and then cover it in hypertufa. Where can I find good simple information about hypertufa?

You are of course very welcome to reply via the blog - hope you like it, its a bit eclectic.

Would you recommend the Scottish and NARGS for someone like me with an enquiring mind?

Contribution from Tim Ingram 06 October 2012, 13:38top / bottom of page

I'd have no hesitation recommending both the SRGC and NARGS to any alpine gardener, and in particular to those with a real interest with growing plants in the garden and who have quite a broad interest in plants. I say this because the interaction on their Forums is far more stimulating in this regard (which won't come as a surprise from my previous entries). I like the NARGS Forum especially, because I have always found North American alpines very interesting and there are some great gardeners on there. SRGC is really excellent for its worldwide contact with gardeners and tremendous variety. Where this Forum could score more is in more detailed expositions (and 'blogs' I suppose) of projects in the garden, because its layout lends itself to this. I imagine this might happen more as time goes on and newer gardeners more happy with these 'electronic' chats join in.

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