Alpines hate our cold, wet win­ters and need shel­ter to see them through, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - News -

They hate our soggy, wet win­ters and need shel­ter

My alpine trough and rock­ery have flour­ished this year, with plants putting on good growth and flow­er­ing for a con­sid­er­able length of time.

Al­though alpines are tough lit­tle plants built to sur­vive in­hos­pitable al­ti­tudes and con­di­tions, they find our cold, wet win­ters some­thing of a trial.

Many of them are low grow­ing so are eas­ily smoth­ered by fallen leaves and by the weeds that con­tinue to grow when­ever the weather is warm enough. They also hate sit­ting in soggy soil.

I have pro­tected my trough from the worst of win­ter’s ele­ments by mov­ing it un­der­neath a wooden bench in a shel­tered area of the pa­tio. This is an ideal site be­cause it has good ven­ti­la­tion and some rain­wa­ter can still get to the plants. How­ever, if con­di­tions be­come ex­tremely ad­verse, I can place a sheet of plas­tic or bub­blewrap over the bench to pro­tect and in­su­late the plants un­der­neath.

Ten­der suc­cu­lents such as echevarias will not sur­vive frosts and con­stant wet, so need to be lifted and over­win­tered in pots of grit so the roots don’t rot while the plants are dor­mant.

Hardier alpines can be left in situ, but it is worth re­mov­ing their dead flow­ers and dam­aged fo­liage to re­duce the risk of fun­gal dis­eases.

Check them reg­u­larly and re­move wet fallen leaves that can smother and cause other fo­liage to rot. If ex­tremely

harsh con­di­tions are forecast, pro­tect plants with a layer of fleece or a sheet of rigid plas­tic raised on bricks, weighed down to pre­vent it be­ing blown away.

Re­move dead flow­ers and dam­aged fo­liage Move your alpine trough some­where shel­tered

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