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Plants in the Alpine House or Cold Frame: Spring at last at Kew

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Started by: Richard Wilford

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Go to latest contribution by David Nicholson, 06 March 2010, 20:40. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Richard Wilford 04 March 2010, 10:48top / bottom of page

It seems spring has finally arrived this week so here are some of the plants you can see now in Kew's Alpine House.

Dionysias are in full swing and we have a selection displayed in one of the plunge beds. These displays of one genus seem to be popular with visitors according to the guides who show groups around Kew.

The pale yellow one in the foreground is a cross from Michael Kammerlander - D. curviflora x D. tapetodes. Others here include each of those two parents plus D. michauxii and D. sarvestanica.

In the shot above you can also see the lovely pale greenish yellow flowers of Fritillaria raddeana. Its close relatives, F. chitralensis and F. eduardii are in bud so should be out soon.

Elsewhere in the Alpine House Helleborus thibetanus is flowering and has been for a couple of weeks. It is a real sign that spring is on its way when this unfurls its delicate pink blooms. They gradually fade to pale green as age.

Cyclamen are also adding tot he colour and this one is growing in the tufa wall. It is C. alpinum from Turkey.

One the benches at each end of the house are plants displayed in their pots. This is a display of tuberous Corydalis.

Even the first tulips are opening but for 2 or 3 weeks now the close relative Amana edulis has been flowering. Previously named Tulipa edulis, this plant is now separated from Tulipa. It comes from Japan and China and has two leaf-like bracts on the flower stem. This is not easy to see in the photo below but as the stems elongate they become more obvious. These bracts are not found on true tulips. Also unlike most tulips it does not like to be too hot and dry when dormant in summer. This might be worth a try outside on the rock garden, although it flowers so early the blooms may be damaged by the late winter weather.

Finally for now, here is the reticulate iris, Iris pamphylica. It comes from Antalya Province in Turkey and is much taller than other species in this group like I. reticulata and I. histrio. It also differs by having a seed capsule that is pendant at the end of a long stalk and not erect. The flowers are a wonderful mix of colours.

Contribution from Gail Harland 05 March 2010, 09:43top / bottom of page

Thank you so much for posting these pictures Richard. I haven't been to Kew for ages; I think I need to arrange a trip!

Contribution from Richard Wilford 05 March 2010, 10:40top / bottom of page

Thanks Gail. Here are a couple of general views taken first thing this morning.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 05 March 2010, 14:27top / bottom of page

Like Gail, I think a visit is long overdue!

Many thanks Richard for giving us a great taster.

Contribution from David Nicholson 06 March 2010, 20:40top / bottom of page

I hope to visit Kew in a few weeks time.

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