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How to Create Clay Crevices in Rock Gardens from Esther Wrightman on Vimeo.

 

This is the the movie clip that was embedded in my presentation which many you may have seen in the last year at various rock garden society meetings. It illustrates how to make a clay crevice within your garden for alpine plants - in this case I am using a split tufa rock.

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We started growing peonies from wild collected, Josef Halda seed ~ 15 years ago. Regardless of the species, they can be handled in a similar fashion. Early on I would soak the seed in 35% hydrogen peroxide - a very strong bleaching agent that will soften the seed coat. Leaving the seed in for ~10-30 minutes is sufficient. Planted in a some standard seedling mix, the seeds will swell,…

The plants in genus Dionysia are some of the most demanding in cultural requirements that few people attempt to grow them. They possess beautiful flowers, form tight domes of tiny leaves and the intriguing habit of growing on near vertical walls with a ledge of rock protecting them from full sun and weather.

Clearly, they are not easy to please. Mostly they are grown in pots…

Of all the shrubs that can be put in a rock garden, Daphnes are at the top of everyone's list. It helps to have the image of the nymph who escaped the lust-filled Apollo by turning into the laurel - now Daphne laureola. But plants must have more than mystique; gardeners are practical, earthy types, and their plants must perform. Two of my favorites are Daphne velenovskyi and Daphne arbuscula,…

Typically, we regard the members of Ranunculaceae as lush perennials growing in rich, moist soils and giving us flowers that may be either flamboyant as the aquilegia spp. or as elegant as Anemone spp. A quieter demeanor can be found in some of the alpine buttercups. Ranunculus alpestris is a little fibrous rooted clump that covers wet areas where the high elevation snow collects. The…

The biggest pleasure of the past season was watching the new plantings of Chinese gentians growing in the garden. Gentians are slow to develop. G. acaulis takes 3 or 4 years to form a mat/mound of ~15 cm circumference. At that size, it is a colony of individual plants both competing and helping each other to survive. As the mound expands, the population increases. It adds to the…

A hint of the beauty that section ornatae holds was offered in the description and photo of gentiana futtereri - the large flowers coming in all shades of blue with prominent striping will rivet the attention of any garden visitor - blue has that ability to bewitch the viewer. The recent collections from Halda, Jurasek, Pavelka and Holubec have provided over 100 separate collections…

Adonis is one of those odd genuses of the family ranunculacaea that murkily sits amongst paeonia, anemone, and ranunculus. The only 2 we grow are A. amurensis, a species from Eastern Siberia, and A. vernalis, which has a wide, though limited distribution throughout Europe. Our original plants are from Czech origin seed (Moravia), and produced ~ 50 plants. These have been raised in an…

April, the time for planting is near and with it comes assessment. Gardens change. Trees grow or are removed; the amounts of light and wind are altered. Plants die, or grow so much they subdue and dominate a garden. In nature change is managed by extremes of weather and topography. Storms, ice, fire, snow-melt, flooding and rock slides, grazing'etc. Humans will manage a garden in a…

Through the years of running our nursery, now approaching 25, I have always looked to improve the way we grow plants in the garden. Alpines are especially demanding, in that they are plants that do not thrive in lowland areas. However, conditions of culture are a continuum and what is lacking in one component, may be compensated with other factors. This need not be complicated; a…

Frequently we receive questions regarding the hardiness of the plants we sell. I do not list hardiness zones in the catalogue as I feel they are too rigid. Most of the plants we offer are hardy into very cold winter climates (lows of -30¬∞C). Very few plants survive in places where temperatures dip below -40¬∞C as there is an actual physical change in the water molecule below this…

Good understanding and management of garden culture can spell the difference between a mediocre garden and a superb one. There are five basic elements to consider which control the growth and health of plants in the garden. Some elements can be regulated more easily than others. They are climate, soil, light, water and nutrition.

Climate Obviously, climate is the one you can't…

As temperatures plunge and light fails in October, we move a great assortment of potted plants from the outdoor frames into the greenhouse. They are mostly stock plants from which we take a lot of our winter cuttings. Others are rare or sensitive plants - some in pots, some in stone troughs - that aren't yet put to the ultimate trial of "open garden" planting. Having grown accustomed…

Everywhere you look new plant material is being offered; even the local garden centres and Big Box stores are in on the parade. All very good, but a fair number of these plants have either unknown cultural requirements, or perhaps worse, are "sensitive". Well there are steps one can take to provide for a plant's needs. First among them is a proper crevice garden that does not impede…