There is an ongoing debate re what "Alpines" means. Strictly speaking it is plants that grow above the treeline. But that would include several trees and ignores many plants we accept as alpines that perhaps grow at sea level. "Alpines" were also supposed to be hardy but that has also now been loosened a bit. This definition is a problem for the likes of the Alpine Garden Society (especially for their show rules) but basically I've included anything that I can sensibly (and sometimes not sensibly) grow in a pot with real alpines and it doesn't look too out of place.
I've now been growing "alpines" for over 40 years and in that time entire groups of plants have come and gone from my collection and indeed general cultivation. I was witness and participated in the great Dionysia obsession in the 70s for example. Right now the number of alpines I grow compared to the bulbs (with the exception of Primula allionii) is quite small. I've come to the conclusion (it only took 40 years) that most of the true alpines prefer life elsewhere. I'm trying a few in frames and troughs but space is now very limited. Many of the pictures in this section are from plants now long gone. There were many more that I had and lost before I had a camera. So this entire section is a bittersweet ramble through some of my favourites.
Click on the images below to the respective plant pages. This section will constantly be added to - note to start with I'm putting up the larger groups - in time I will start uploading some single species pages.
ALPINES - In my early teens I developed a passion for plants. While I remember my first encounters with Cyclamen and Pleiones I can't recall how I first developed an interest in alpines. I suspect it was apart of a growing interest in smaller plants - originally I was growing Glory Lily, the big Calceolarias, Morning Glory etc in a small greenhouse and perhaps seeing the plants in my parents rock garden. Early encounters with Royton Heath's "Collectors' Alpines" added to the fire.
Since then I have continued to grow "alpines" mainly in greenhouses and frames. The main reason being that the plants I am most interested in are less easy to manage outside. They may reset winter wet, not be entirely hardy, professional slug bait or just too tiny to survive the general rough and tumble of life in borders with an army of slugs and snails that demolish almost anything.