Edelweiss is the symbol of alpine flowers. It grows wild in the Alps and rather surprisingly will flourish quite happily in your lowland garden if the site is sunny and the drainage is good. There are many alpines which are more difficult to grow, but there are also many which are more attractive. Edelweiss is interesting rather than beautiful – the greyish white, flat flower-heads are borne on short stalks above the greyish green leaves.

VARIETIES: There is just one species which is widely available – L.alpinum, the common Edelweiss of the Swiss Alps. The basic details are height 6 in., spread 9 in., flowering period June-July. The narrow leaves are hoary on top and densely woolly below. They form a rosette from which the furry flower stems appear. The curious flower-heads are about 2 in. across – a central group of small rayless Daisies surrounded by large bracts which appear to be made of grey flannel.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – requires full sun.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in early spring.

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