Alpine Garden Society

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Meeting January 16 2014

Brian Burrow "Growing & Propogation of Alpines in NW England"
Brian Burrow, a long standing member of the North Lancashire Group, presented his lecture entitled ‘Growing and Propagation of Alpines in North West England’  Brian has great experience in growing alpines as proprietor of Lismore Nurseries  at Holmes Chapel in Cheshire and then at High Bentham from 1970 to 1990. He is also a former lecturer in horticultural sciences in London and at Myerscough College. In addition he is the author of many articles for the bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society.

Brian illustrated his talk with images of his garden and the many alpines he grows on the west facing slopes and in raised beds. He described the compost mix used for the majority of his plants and recommended that many will survive when grown outside in this area and it wasn’t always necessary to grow alpines under glass. However, sometimes propagation was improved if the plants were started in the greenhouse. Many alpines can be successfully propagated by scattering seed on to beds covered with 2mm to 4mm grit.

Photographs of bulbs including Colchicum, Fritillaria, Scilla, Crocus, Gladiolus, Dwarf Daffodils, Trilliums and varieties of Iris.  Brian has grown the native Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium calceolus) which takes nine years to flower when grown from seed. He suggested that members grow alpines from seed as this method often produces a variation of colour in the species. Other images illustrated the many Primula species grown in his garden including Primula allioni, P. marginata and P. julii. Members of the Ranunculaceae family were represented by Ranunculus glacialis  generallywith  white flowers but can be found in the wild with purple flowers, plus Ranunculus bilobus – the Crenate Buttercup and Ranunculus alpestris – the Alpine Buttercup.

Brian grows over 20 different varieties of Saxifrages along with  North American Penstemmons and Callianthemums. Brian was able to suggest the best times to take cuttings and to sow seed for the many plants shown in his presentation.

The vote of thanks for a most interesting and informative evening was given by Chairman, Frank Hoyle.

JF and Syd Cumbus
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