Plants that have a head for heights come under the spotlight this week. At Craigieburn Garden in the Scottish Borders Gardeners’ World discovers a unique collection of Himalayan plants, and visits a nurseryman in Hebden Bridge who has been growing alpines since he was a teenager.
In Gardeners World episode 15 2015:
1. How to make an alpine trough
Michael Mitchell has been growing alpines since he was a teenager. Here he demonstrates how to make an alpine trough from scratch using nothing more than a bucket, some sand and cement.
2. Thin developing apples
In early summer, many trees will naturally shed their fruit, a phenomenon known as the ‘June drop’. Despite this, in a good growing year, a fruit tree may still carry too many fruitlets which, if left, will develop into small fruit. With apples, thinning these fruitlets to two per spur will help to improve their final size.
3. Harvest garlic
Garlic is ready to lift as soon as the foliage starts to turn yellow. Using a fork, gently lever the plants out of the ground and allow them to dry thoroughly until the leaves start to rustle. Thereafter, store somewhere cool and dry.
4. Prune fan-trained plums & cherries
Stone fruits like cherries and plums should only be pruned in June, July or August. Pruning at any other time of the year increases the risk of infection from bacterial canker and silver leaf. Fan-training is a good way of growing vigorous fruit trees in a small space. For more details on how to prune them, click on the link below.
5. Easy alpines for containers
Nowadays, many of the bigger garden centres and nurseries offer a wide range of containers in which alpines can be grown: replica troughs and sinks in many shapes, sizes and finishes. Some are made from reconstituted stone, and others from a lightweight polymer with an authentic-looking stone-like finish. There are
also containers like strawberry pots, terracotta planters and containers in a wide range of other finishes. A huge range of alpine plants is available that will thrive and prosper in any of these containers; indeed, many will find a contentment in these that would be difficult to equal elsewhere in the garden.