December – a month of alpines


For the run up to Christmas I created an alpine advent calendar on Instagram, featuring a different plant from the awesome alpine zone at RHS Harlow Carr each day. The big beastie above was the chosen one for Christmas Day because it resembled the shape of a Christmas pudding.

I’m really looking forward to the new growing season and I’ll be starting with leeks on January 1st ready for the giant leek competition. I have no idea how they’ll turn out. I’ve decided to be a bit more experimental next year with my sowing/planting out in general to see if sowing early really does make a difference.

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments over the few months that I’ve been blogging. I hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2013 :)

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24 Responses to “December – a month of alpines”

  1. Roger brook December 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    Growing alpines does not seem so popular these days. Can’t understand why, they are great for the smaller garden. I have my own small alpine house and grow loads in my rock garden and gravel garden. Just love them!

    • Anna B December 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

      Hello Roger, I don’t know why either as they really are lovely and seem to be able to grow just about anywhere! I’d love a small alpine house too. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  2. Sue@GLAllotments December 29, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    I always find it bizarre that there are fashions for plants. We used to grow alpines in terracotta pots in the greenhouse but needed the space for other things, We do have a few in the pebble garden we created last year.

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Hello Sue! Gardening fashions go completely over my head. I just love all plants and grow whatever comes my way really. I like to experiment. My folks had a lot of alpines in their garden at their old house and I always spend hours in the alpine house at Harlow Carr. I’ve got quite a few of them dotted about and a large pot of them that I tried to plant up like an RHS display but it doesn’t hit the mark compared to theirs!

  3. wellywoman December 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Hope you had a great Christmas. I’m trying to be optimistic about the new growing season but this incessant rain is getting to me now. Jeez, will it ever stop? I’ve got the seed catalogues out though and lists are being written. :) Wishing you a great gardening year in 2013.

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      Thank you Wellywoman! Wishing you a great gardening year too. It’s exciting doing all the planning isn’t it. I agree about this rain – it’s DIRE!!!! Hope you have brilliant new year celebrations :)

  4. Cathy December 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    That’s a novel idea – and what a strange-looking plant that Gypsophila is! No chocolate behind the pictures I assume ? :( Having pulled lots of self-seeded ferns out of our rockery earlier in the year I can start looking at replanting with alpines and the like but will need to make sure I check their growing conditions first. I texted Younger Daughter on our way back from Scotland to ask about the weather, as we were passing through a band of snow showers – ‘rain, rain and more rain was what she said! Better than cold and snow, though? Or not? Good luck with the leeks!

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      Yes, it’s rain, rain and more rain here too! My alpines seem to do well in all conditions though, I have a lot of ‘house leeks’ and they’re pretty tough. Good job really because our weather is becoming very predictable! Hope you had a good Christmas and best wishes for the new year :)

      • Cathy December 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

        I know people who were replanning their gardens a few years back to take account of the more Mediterranean summers…! It’s all just good old British weather though – unpredictable, so we will always have something to talk about :)

        • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

          Well, this is the thing it definitely provides a talking point! A few winters back I was thinking I would need some form of Land Rover by now to cope with the harsh snowy winters we would surely be having by now! Good job I didn’t invest in a snow plough!

  5. Kim December 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I too am getting very excited about the new growing season and have plans to try a few different things, leeks being one (but not competition standard this year)
    Will be following you closely :-)

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      Hello Kim! Thanks so much for your comment! I too will be following your little dogs’ progress :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoy any new year celebrations you may have planned. Thanks again for dropping by :)

  6. b-a-g December 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Good luck with your leeks. I’m going the other way – I’ve done sowing and planting out, not very successfully. This year I’m going to sprinkle seeds over the garden and see what happens.

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      A good tactic I think! I have a mad idea to do that in the meadows behind the allotments. With all this rain and mild weather I think seed sprinkling could work really well! Thanks for dropping by and best wishes for the new year :)

  7. Ricki Grady December 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    What a lovely bunch of photos. I especially love the plum pudding plant. Happy New Year to you, Anna.

    • Anna B December 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Hello Ricki! Thanks so much for your comments :) Wishing you a very happy new year too!

  8. Ronnie@Hurtledto60 December 30, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Love the boots! Wishing you a very happy New Year :-)

    • Anna B December 30, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      Same to you Ronnie! All the very best :)

  9. ladycatloversliverpoolleftovers December 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Good luck with the leeks – are you sowing inside or in a cold frame or a greenhouse? I love leeks, did try a couple of years ago when we first got into the new garden, but the house renovation was beginning by the time they were ready to try planting the seedlings on, so couldn’t get into the garden! Happy New Year!

    • Anna B December 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      I will be starting them off in my heated propagator on the windowsill in my top bedroom, then transferring them into the greenhouse and when ready into my raised beds! I’ve been given lots of advice now about various techniques so I’ll plant a couple of rows and experiment with them a bit! That’s if they get that far, I’ve generally found leeks very easy though so fingers crossed!!! Happy new year to you too :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

  10. Anna December 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Oh there are some beauties amongst those alpines. Look forward to reading about the progress of your leeks – hope that they are competition winners. Wishing you and your garden a most happy and healthy new year Anna.

    • Anna B December 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Hello Anna! Thank you so much!! Wishing you a happy and healthy new year too. All the very best :)

  11. PJ Girl December 31, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I’ve always fancied having a go at growing alpines but have never got around to it… so much to learn about the Kitchen Garden still :-)
    Happy New Year Anna x

    • Anna B December 31, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Hello PJ Girl! There’s always something to learn with gardening isn’t there. Plants can be unpredictable at times! Thanks so much for your comment, wishing you a very happy new year too :) x


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