Tag Archives: Alpines

Mr Mac hits the rocks!

Mr Mac has always been an admirer of alpines. He has mentioned once or twice how he would like to create a rockery somewhere in the garden but until now there was nowhere suitable.

Recently, Mr Mac and his friend attended an auction at a builders yard. The builder in question had gone bust and Mr Mac and his friend had gone with the intention of bidding on a JCB mini-digger. They were unsuccessful. Undeterred, Mr Mac was determined not to come home empty handed and managed to negotiate a deal on numerous lengths of wood and a selection of sinks.

There was so much wood, it merits its own blog. As for the sinks, there was one Belfast sink, three stone troughs and the remainder looked as if they came from the toilet scene in Trainspotting. (I am not actually convinced they are sinks…..if you follow!).

The wood is under the blue tarpaulin, the dubious "sinks" can be seen in the foreground.

The wood is under the blue tarpaulin, the dubious “sinks” can be seen in the foreground.

The four useable sinks were earmarked for alpines, as soon as drainage holes were put in. Fortunately, this coincided with an online offer of 12 ground cover perennials for £3.99….so we ordered two, only to realise when they arrived they were alpines! I also treated Mr Mac to a selection of alpines for his birthday along with a book (Alpines An Essential Guide by Michael Mitchell). So he was all set………….

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Many, many weeks later, while tidying up the driveway with a mini-digger (hired for the weekend…..oh, the irony!) the end of the side border, which was a jungle of eight years worth of weeds, shrubs and goodness knows what else, was dug out and scraped back to the soil. Mr Mac rotivated it and continued the wooden edging (guess where the wood came from?) along to the end. He increased the height at the very end so that he could create a rockery.

Before

Before

After

After

Yesterday he spent most of the day moving boulders, rocks and stones and creating mini-Alps. Then off to the garden centre for some grit. I think you’ll agree the end result is stunning.

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The plants used are Pratia, Erodium, Heleniathemum, Thymus Serpylium, Sedum Spureum, Campanula Carpatica, Dianthus Deltoide, Aster Alpinas, Papaver Pacino, Saxifrage (Silver Cushion), Silene, Oxalis, Saxifrage (Peter Pan), Acquilegia, Viola and Lewisia.

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But guess what? He used all the plants he had so now he will have to go and buy some more for the stone troughs! And he has the cheek to moan about how many handbags I have………….

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Santa Claus is coming!

This week has had a slight Christmas feel to it and as Little Sis’ has been nagging me for another blog to read I thought I would write about her favourite thing – brussels sprouts for Christmas Dinner!

I had a slight panic that, due to the cold Spring, I was way behind with seed planting and had done nothing about brussels sprouts or parsnips for Christmas Dinner. I sowed a couple of rows of parsnips in one of my new raised beds and I am pleased to advise that, unlike last year, we appear to have successful germination. A staple of our winter diet is spicy parsnip soup, so this is a relief as last year we spent a fortune buying parsnips.

The makings of roast parsnips and spicy parsnip soup!

The makings of roast parsnips and spicy parsnip soup!

The variety is Tender and True (“Delicious for Roasting”) and from to sowing to cropping is 28-32 weeks – so we should just make it for Christmas dinner!

As I was over a month late with the sprouts I opted for a variety called Evesham Special (large, old-fashioned flavour sprouts) promising a heavy, early crop from medium sized plants, ideal for exposed sites. Sowings in February indicate cropping from September so fingers crossed we will have plenty for Christmas.

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On another Christmas theme, our lucky dip perennial box arrived this week. This was a special email offer from Suttons back in April – 4 x 18 different lucky dip perennials for £9.99. We had forgotten about it so it was a bit like Christmas opening the box to see what was inside. Our four lucky dips were:

Dianthus – I am not a big fan but Mr Mac is. We have two in the garden already which, despite my deliberate neglect, continue to thrive. They will now be joined by another 18!

Coreopsis – I was quite happy about this because I tried to grow these from seed last year and the slugs ate every single one. I was reluctant to try again but now I don’t have to.

Monarda – I had never heard of this but believe the common name is Beebalm.

Sedum – Mr Mac had been after some of this  so he was pleased. According to the catalogue it offers “drought-tolerant” late summer colour. Not something we usually have a problem with but it would be a nice problem to have for a change!

It was too hot in the greenhouse to pot them on so we sat outside in the sunshine!

It was too hot in the greenhouse to pot them on so we sat outside in the sunshine!

All potted on and ready to grow!

All potted on and ready to grow!

Normally what happens at Christmas is I receive my presents and then go out and buy what I really wanted! The same was true this week. We are fortunate that Scotland’s flagship gardening show – Gardening Scotland – takes place less than a 15 minute drive away. The show was last weekend and Mr Mac and I set off with good intentions “not to go draft”- but we were like kids in a sweet shop.

I bought some Helenium plants and another couple of Meconopsis to supplement the pathetic specimens I bought online. Mr Mac got some Lupins, Heuchera and some alpines. We also invested in another couple of Clemetis – a white and pink Montana for some spring colour.

Our purchases

Our purchases

Finally, on a present theme, I was bemoaning to Mr Mac how I am concerned that there has been no activity from the Calla Lillies I planted in a pot. All the other bulbs are starting to show but not the lillies.

When I came home from work the other evening, look what was sitting at the from door…….

Mr Mac bought me a couple of Calla Lillies and planted them in pots with some trailing lobelia.

Mr Mac bought me a couple of Calla Lillies and planted them in pots with some trailing lobelia.