Compact Plants For Rock Gardens

A large number of compact alpines do not spread and can be left undisturbed for years. September is the usual planting month though it is possible to get going in the early spring. They like a general soil mixture and, on the whole, not too rich. The hardy orchids enjoy shade or partial shade.

ATHIONEMA GRANDIFLORUM Looks like a delicate candytuft, bushy in habit. Rose pink, likes lime, flowers April-July. 250 mm (10 in) tall.

ANDROSACE The rock jasmine. These are some of the choicest alpines. They love a moist well-drained root run and must be protected from rain in winter. AQUILEGIA The rock garden columbines are very I dainty and are in flower from May-July.

ASTER ALPINUS This is the baby Michaelmas Daisy, in flower from May-July bearing lilac-purple daisy-like blooms.

CAMPANULAS Numbers of baby campanulas which make neat little plants. Some like C. pulla only grow 75 mm (3 in) high and other like G. F. Wilson ar 225 mm (9 in) tall.

In flower from July-August.

CYPRIPEDIUMS There are a number of baby Lady Slipper Orchids that grow only 225 or 250 mm (9 or 10 in) tall and flower from May-June. They like semi-shade and moist peaty soil.

DIANTHUS There are quite a family of alpine pinks whose flowers are sweetly scented from May-July. ERIGERONS Several species are suitable for the rock garden. The dwarf plants have marguerite-like flowers, E. alpinus from June-August and E. aurantiacus from May-June.

GENTIANS The Gentians are very popular plants and the majority have lovely blue flowers. G. acaulis is in flower from February to June; G. jreyniana from July-September, and G. verna from April-June. All the gentians need understanding.

GERANIUMS There are several dwarf species of these Cranesbills suitable for the rock garden. Most of them flower from June till September.

INULA ENSIFOLIA A neat plant with small leaves and yellow daisy-like flowers. Grows 225 mm (9 in) high, flowers from July-September.

LITHOSPERMUMS Heavenly blue is probably the best variety. It quite likes lime and produces a mass of blue flowers from June-October, 225 mm (9 in) high.

OENOTHERA MACROCARPA grows 150 mm (6 in) high. Bears yellow flowers with large ornamental seed pods. At its best from June-September.

ORCHIDS There are two or three which are quite suitable, Orchis latijolia, for instance is in flower in May, with purple flowers and dark spots, and O. maculata in May and June.

POTENTILLA TONGUEI bears orange buttercup-like flowers with a crimson centre, May-October 100 to 150 mm (4 to 6 in) high.

PRIMULAS There are a large number of primulas that on the whole prefer semi-shade and cool soil. Some like Primula juliae are only 100 mm (4 in) tall and bear rose-purple flowers; others like P. sikkimensis bear drooping heads of fragrant sulphur yellow flowers on stems 450 mm (18 in) high from May-July. SAXIFRAGES There are compact species of saxifrages that belong mainly to the Kabschia and Encrusted sections. The leaves from neat greyish rosettes. Saxifraga sal-moni, dwarf, bears large white flowers. Irbing is a tiny flowered hybrid 75 mm (3 in) high. S. hosteii is 225 to 300 mm (9 to 12 in) tall, and bears white flowers on red stems.

SEMPERVIVUMS The house-leek family, the plants of which are grown more for their leaves than their flowers. They rather like old mortar rubble in the soil. As a group they flower in April-July.

VERONICA (syn. Hebe). There are on or two neat shrubby veronicas like V. allioni which only grows 75 to 100 mm (3 to 4 in) high and bears deep blue flowers in June and July.

ZAUSCHNER1A CALIFORNICA Commonly called the Californian fuchsia, flowers from August-October. Bears brilliant scarlet flowers on stems 300 mm (1 ft) high.

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