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Plants in the Alpine House or Cold Frame: newbie

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Started by: Roy Stevens

Cold frame

Go to latest contribution by John Richards, 20 September 2015, 16:43. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Roy Stevens 11 September 2015, 12:08top / bottom of page

Sorry i made a mistake submiting this thread i have just joined and am new to alpines i purchased a few alpines and  i am in the process of buying a cold frame and would like to know the correct direction to place it i was going to place it facing south then i read a piece suggesting north



Contribution from Martin Rogerson 12 September 2015, 07:41top / bottom of page

Hi Roy, welcome. I'm afraid your question invites the dreaded answer....'that depends'. It really does depend on what you want to use the frame for, what kind of plants you are going to grow in it. Is it for winter protection, growing on seedlings, etc. Perhaps if you tell us what plants you've bought I could be mnore specific.


Sorry not to be more helpful!



Contribution from Roy Stevens 14 September 2015, 11:08top / bottom of page

Hi Martin

Thank you for the welcome and reply i was mainly thinking for for seed sowing and cuttings at a later date once i have acquired more plants,i bought some Saxifraga and a couple of Campanula the rest i am unable to say what plants i have at the moment i don't know if i was wrong to buy at the time but it will be interesting finding out what i have as i bought mixture of alpine plants about 20 all without labels at 50p each.

Thanks again



Contribution from Tim Ingram 14 September 2015, 14:26top / bottom of page

Roy - for seed sowing we generally use an open frame in a shady spot (in our case with fine mesh wire netting to keep out mice - doesn't keep out slugs unfortunately!). When seed germinates we bring them in to a greenhouse or protect the frame with glass lights. These are pictures I put on my Diary showing a seed frame and growing on frame at the Haut-Chitelet garden in France where they get plenty of winter snow, just what many alpine seeds need (many others don't need this so much but still require quite a long period of cold/moisture before they germinate). For cuttings a warmer situation which you can shade is better so I would have frames in a number of places if you can, as Martin says depending on what you intend to grow. Autumn is not a bad time to buy plants and plant up troughs etc., still a lot of warmth and moisture in the soil.

Contribution from Roy Stevens 14 September 2015, 16:13top / bottom of page

Thank you Tim for your help i have always been a keen gardener but never Alpines and i have so much to learn,i am reading as much as i can it would have been helpful if i had a local group but they are all far away,i have a campervan so i am going to try to attend one or two and stay overnight locally if possible.

Thank again                                                                                                                     


Contribution from John Richards 20 September 2015, 16:43top / bottom of page

I have never understood this question, unless the frame is sloping with a shady side and a sunny side. For level plunges, as shown by Tim, if they are in full light, it should not matter which way they 'point'. If the frame is sloping, then it also depends on how shady your site is and how far north you live. However some subjects suit a south aspect and others a north. If you go to RBG Edinburgh, sloping frames stand back to back, with rhododendrons, ericaceous subjects, primulas etc facing north, and saxifrages, drabas and what-have-you facing south. Most bulbs should face south, but not Nomocharis, certain lilies and other shade-loving subjects.

Folk discuss which way a greenhouse should 'point', with the general consensus that the axis should be east-west so there is a north and south side. I have never understood this either. If the glasshouse is in full light, the north side should get just as much sun as the north side, ditto if the axis runs north-south.

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