Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The scree bed.

While my husband and our elder son were busily occupied laying the patio, I was working nearby, building up a scree bed for our alpine and rockery plants. In the wild, these hardy little plants grow in very little soil with their roots firmly embedded in the gravel of hills and mountains, where they withstand adverse weather conditions.

In order to create suitable conditions in our garden, the soil for the scree bed had to be raised fairly high and then shaped to make sloping sides. Where the bed borders the patio, there was a high bank of soil, which gave me the opportunity to create a little wall of boulders through which I would plant trailing alpines to form a carpet of colour.

In their native habitat, alpines are protected in Winter by a layer of snow, which actually keeps them dry. When the area of our scree bed was free of weeds, all three of us walked up and down firming the soil. After that, I covered the whole area with a deep layer of cream-coloured gravel, which would protect the foliage of our alpines from wetness during the winter.

Alpines are very easy to grow as they are quite hardy and require very little maintenance. Interest need not be limited to Spring, as there are species available to give colour and variety throughout the year. Gentians, helianthemums, orchids, phloxes, lithospermum and aubretia are some of the alpines which grow well in our little scree bed.

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