Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Alpine Troughs, Miniature Gardens

One of the places we always check out whenever we visit the RHS Wisley garden is the Alpine area. In there you can find the alpine display house, crevice garden, raised gravel beds, and several small troughs with alpine plants thriving in them. I do like this section of the garden, so many miniature plant gems and most of them are hardy too, given that their other growing conditions are met of course and the most common denominator of which is sharp drainage.



The Centenary Crevice Garden at the Alpine Area of RHS Wisley
One of several raised beds outside the Alpine Display House. This usually has a roof on it during winter to keep the bed on the dry side (as winter in the UK is usually wet, too wet for some alpine plants).

Some nice little gems inside the Alpine Display House...
Dianthus erinaceous and Cryptomeria japonica 'Tenzan-sugi'
Love the foliage of cyclamens! Not too fussed about the flowers though. Cyclamen graecum subsp. mindleri





I wonder how many look down and admire the paving like we do....
And even more nice little gems growing outside too!

I love this one - Tanacetum argenteum subsp. canum
Close up of the same plant, nice!
Crevice Garden
The troughs are a particular favourite of mine within this section. It always makes me smile seeing these troughs, each of them having different arrangements and individual designs. Like there was a competition among different gardeners making them whilst the area was being conceptualised years ago. And each trough looks like it's mimicking a garden or natural landscape, but this time only in miniature. Each trough effectively complements the appearance of these alpine plants and at the same time sympathetic to its growing requirements.

A miniature rockery garden in every individual trough! And just like big gardens, some are better than others...



This one is my favourite. I almost felt like wanting to go to the rockery centre instantly and buy oddly shaped slabs of slate to recreate this trough. One for the idea bank!



Whilst this one is Gaz's favourite of the lot. The slabs used were smaller and more irregular, and the trough itself is twice the size. I can imagine repeating rows of troughs similar to this would look great in a larger patio or balcony.



Needs 'freshening up' of the plants/planting, otherwise it's a nice, simple, yet effective arrangement.



Not bad! The labels are very distracting but this RHS Wisley so that's fine. Go easy on the plant labels though if one intends on using it in a private garden.



Simple but nice, if a tad sparse on plants. This trough reminds me of a miniature Japanese rock garden.



Do you have any leftover tiles after re-tiling your bathroom? Then use in a trough...



Now this is better! Looks modern and contemporary and wouldn't mind recreating something similar to this myself.



Hmmmm...a goldfish graveyard perhaps?



One of the better ones with a more classic arrangement of stones over gravel.



This one isn't too bad, although some of the plants could do with being replaced to 'freshen' it up.



Another one that I really, really like! And made me think 'big' too, envisaging a bigger version of this arrangement. Instead of a trough, imagine a large gravel bed as the base and on it are arrangement of several reclaimed chimney pots, on different levels and sizes, teeming with sempervivums, agaves, aloes,....you get the picture? If only we had the space and aspect for such a bed. Maybe in the future...

These troughs are a great idea especially if space is an issue, looking great in a sunny courtyard or a balcony. Or even if space is not an issue, as accent pieces in a seating. Only one's creativity and imagination is the only limit.

Mark :-)

22 comments:

  1. WOW! How fantastic. Love, love, love this area. Fantastic designs and plants both. Very cool things to go see.
    Cher Sunray Gardens
    Goldenray Yorkies

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  2. Hi Cher, glad you like it, and I love the enthusiastic response :)

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  3. You're like me. I take photos of paving and pathways too when I visit gardens. Those plants are amazing. None would survive in our heat but I could imagine a row of troughs along a balcony - another project???

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  4. Hi Missy, rows of small troughs could look nice along a balcony indeed. Not another project for us though, just a nice idea :)

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  5. What a fun bunch of pictures! Of course you've got my mind going thinking about how something like this (on a larger scale) would be great for cold hardy succulents in my garden...

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    1. Hi Loree, we would love this on a large scale, just need some more space!

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  6. How THIS is a nursery I'd love to visit. It's so different from what you usually see. I love all the interesting designs using rocks and slabs of slate. The same designs would work extremely well with succulents.

    Do you know what the containers in the first photo are? Are they chimney flues?

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    1. Hi Gerhard, we havent explored Wisley as much as we would like, so really enjoyed our day there recently. Glad you enjoyed our visit.

      I think the containers are some sort of terracotta chimney flue, but not certain for sure.

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  7. Hi Mark & Gaz, great blog you have here and a very impressive garden and plant collection. It has been quite a while since I have visited Wisley and this post has piqued my interest enough to pop along this weekend. I'm jumping aboard as your newest follower.

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    1. Hi, thanks for your kind comments, Wisley is looking great although it wont be long until things start to go over, so well worth getting along this weekend

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  8. Lol@ goldfish graveyard. Seriously, all the troughs are works of art, and must weigh at least tonne each. Love the last one, really well put together & great colours too. The cyclamen look great also. Such a lovely/well-kept garden. Love alpine plants; beautiful survivors in harsh environments. Great post guys!

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    1. Thanks Lithopsland! You're right about how tough alpines can be, with most able to sail through tough condition that other plants simply cannot. Each trough must weigh loads indeed.

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  9. That's a lot of rocks! Can you imagine what will happen if that happens to be here? But i love that last arrangement too!

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    1. A lot of rocks indeed Andrea! The last arrangement is superb indeed :)

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  10. Hi - this is just the post I needed to see. As you know I am getting into alpines but am struggling to decide how to display them. I like the idea of crevice gardens but dont want my garden to look like a quarry. I really was pleased to see the photos of troughs especially the one Gaz likes and my son says it would be easy to make a box like that. I am going to save some of the pics for inspiration - I hope that is Ok with you??

    I did laugh at the goldfish graveyard

    Helen

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    1. Hi Helen, please be our guest with the photos, glad they help with your own thoughts.

      Looking forward to seeing how you develop the collection, and especially if your son is able to make a box like hat too!

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  11. It's great to see these photos. I loved this part of Wisley when I visited in 2009. I don't think he crevice garden was there at that time, nor these troughs with rock slices. It is a very interesting effect.

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    1. Hi Jordan, glad you enjoyed the photos. I'm not sure when the crevice garden was built, but I think its fairly recent.

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  12. I love that last photo, I've actually been wanting to do something like that with reclaimed chimney pots. But they are hard to find. I may have to make do with stone pots of some kind. Thanks for showcasing all those troughs. Gotta get busy this winter making some with hypertufa.

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    1. Hi Alison, ebay sometimes has chimney pots available. Good luck with the hypertufa

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  13. Hi ! Thanks for sharing these marvellous photos, I just love them ! I dream I could visit this place ! Greetings !

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    1. Hi Pivi, do glad you enjoyed seeing them! :)

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