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South Yorkshire, United Kingdom Gb

i have a long strip of garden down the side of my drive with a twellve inch wall.the soil is about 8inches deep and 5 inches wide,i usually grow pansies or primulas in there but it is getting too hard to replace them each year as i have difficulty bending.I need it to be a permanent planting and wondered if anyone had any ideas,i thought of alpines but know nothing about suitability size etc and type of soil would be grateful for any tips



The person to ask is Bulbaholic - or his wife, Moongrower. They grow a range of alpine plants, and live in Scotland. Send a Private Message to them and I know they'll be able to give you all the advice you need.

You get to B's page by typing his name into the search box. Good luck with your new gardening! :-))

24 Jul, 2010


thanks ,i have sent a private message to bulbaholic,waiting for his reply .Re the orchid ,it seems i was wrong. i inspected it prior to cutting as you advised,bt the two stems were entwined and on untangling them i found two flowers on the stem i thought had stopped flowering about 4ins from the bottom and 5 nodes above the flower ,so now do i leave it alone or trim it down to one node above the flower

25 Jul, 2010


With an orchid, always leave it until the last flower has fallen off....then cut it back to above the first node.

Hope you get to chat to Bulbaholic - he and Mrs B. are very knowledgeable on alpines!

25 Jul, 2010


i am a bit confused about the private message i sent to bulbaholic.will his reply come into my in box as usual

26 Jul, 2010


Yes. If it's a Private Message, the background will be blue.

26 Jul, 2010


We have been away for a few days, Blencowe, and only just got home. I will try and respond to you in the next day or two. You should get a advice of my private message responce in your emails.

26 Jul, 2010


Provided that your bed gets some sunshine, Blencowe, it should not be too difficult to grow some nice rock plants in it. Firstly I would fork in some peat free organic compost and some fine grit in order to improve the soil with a couple of handfuls of bonemeal as a slow release fertiliser. Then look for some plants.
Remember that most alpines flower in the first half of the year so you might also want some that have coloured foliage to give some interest later. Saxifrages could be a first choice as they come with green, yellow or silvery leaves and make nice cushions. The Androsace make nice, small plants as do Arabis. You say that you liked Primulas, well you can still have them in the form of P. auricula and P. pubescens both of which have many named forms and are readily available. I would be wanting a few bulbs in the bed. For the very early part of the year there could be two or three corms of Cyclamen coum and the a few small clumps of Crocus chrysanthus varieties.
As we move into summer flower power can begin to wane so how about a small Celmisia, the New Zealand Daisy, which has daisy type flowers and lovely silver foliage. Looking out of my own window now I see Sedum in flower and these can be in white, yellow or pink. Come August and September we will get the autumn flowering Gentians with their amazing blue trumpet flowers.
I can only name a very small percentage of the possible plants, Blencowe. As a next step why not browse the on-line catalogue of Rob Potterton Here you will find information on hundreds of suitable plants and, if you are inspired, it is only a short drive to Castor.

27 Jul, 2010


hello bulbaholic, i cant wait to start my rock garden,the way you have described all the various plants makes a great picture in my mind .I think it may be only 8 inches soil depth because it could be a concrete channel.we had the drive block paved a few years ago and theydid put a concrete edge all around.I will test it later in the week to see how deep i can go down,if i cant will it still support a rock garden or will i have to think of some other solution to the strip? I had to laugh at your reference to the Barnsley seam,my husband was a miner and worked in the Barnsley seam at Silverwood for a time in his twenties.Hope you enjoyed the wine thanks for your reply.

27 Jul, 2010


I was concerned that it might be a concrete channel, Blencowe. it won't hurt if water can get awat easily. One thing that alpines don't like is to stand with wet feet. Can you break the bottom of the channel in a few places to aid drainage? I worked at Treeton in the 60's.

27 Jul, 2010

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