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Portraits of unusual alpine plants

July 24, 2022
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As an inquisitive botanist gardener with half a century of experience I have grown a very wide range of plants some of which will feature in this series of portraits of unusual alpine plants.

Cassiope in John's garden. Credit Razvan Chisu

Cassiope in John's garden. Credit Razvan Chisu

Alpines are my particular passion and I have sought out and grown many of the more unusual kinds. That is not to say that I don’t grow and enjoy many of the easy, popular alpines. I do. But there is always an extra buzz when I manage to acquire a plant that has long languished as a name only on my ‘must have’ list. Sometimes it arrives as a gift from a gardening friend. At other times I spot it on a visit to a nursery, or when browsing their list by the winter fireside.

Once the initial excitement resulting from possession begins to subside my thoughts turn to consideration of the plants needs in cultivation. Does this new and precious acquisition need full sun or will it tolerate some, or even a lot of shade? What are its soil requirements – heavy or light, acid or alkaline, shallow or deep? I may then consider how it would blend with the other occupants of the area that I have begun to consider as the best spot that I can offer. Or I may not. I am primarily a plantsman, not a garden designer and plant ‘happiness’ is what I’m chiefly after.

So there you have the basis for this series of portraits of unusual alpine plants. In each I will cover, to a greater or lesser extent, the characteristics and requirements of the plant. Hopefully, you will wish to try some of them if you have not done so already. All are available, so if you look hard enough and long enough you should find what you are after. Good luck!

Author: John Good

John Good