Due to a landslip, the A386 north of Orford Mill will remain closed in both directions until further notice. RHS Garden Rosemoor remains open, and diversions to the garden are in place. Please allow additional time for travelling.

Take a closer look at our alpines

Come rain or shine, the Alpine House is a ray of sunshine

Alpine house at RosemoorLots of people say to me that they always enjoy taking a look at the Alpine House whenever they visit Rosemoor. Even if the weather is bad or you are not so mobile, with it being sited so close to the restaurant it is easy to see the cheery display.

With the plants on raised benches it is a good opportunity to observe these small plants at close quarters and to take delight in their beauty and enjoy their scent which, if they were planted in the ground, could often be overlooked.

In their native growing environments these little plants would have been spending the winter under a nice warm blanket of snow (yes it is ‘warm’ underneath snow; the temperature is always just above freezing and it is out of the wind). When the snow melts, the plants go into a rapid period of growth and a race to flower so that they can set their seed and spread before the winter comes again.

The Alpine House at the moment is full of lovely plants and bulbs, with the heady scent of Ipheon and Anemone blanda cultivars lining the windowsills, while the Primula auricula cultivars are making a show in pots plunged into the sand. Plunging pots in sand protects the roots from the extremes of cold and heat and also too much or too little water.

By growing alpines in pots we are able to have a constantly changing display in the Alpine House throughout the year, always bringing up whatever is looking good from the nursery where they are grown for the rest of the year. Growing the plants under protection means that they are protected from the wet humid winters we have in Devon; having the side vents and doors open in the display house provides plenty of ventilation, which these plants benefit from.

For a real feast for your eyes the Alpine Garden Society are having their South West Show here at Rosemoor on 1st April which is always worth a visit. See you there!

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.