It only takes an odd blue sky and a spring like warm day to give the sense that spring is on its way. I’m pretty sure just like a lot of others I get SAD in winter, but every moment I can get I spend in my garden. I think the winter has felt colder than it really is but it hasn’t stopped me completing most of the tasks that I wanted doing and as spring approaches there’s a new spring in my step which will speed me up to get the garden tidied up ready to continue and finish last year’s large project.
Although I don’t have any room left to plant any larger plants I can still go vertical using some more climbers, however I shall need some alpines to soften the edges of the stone circle and path because I don’t like hard edges. I will plant some alpines right up close to feet of my garden seats too so they look as if they are situated amongst the flowers.
Colourful carpets and clumps of spring flowering alpines and rockery plants look very pretty and are really effective at softening edges, filling gaps, tumbling over tops of walls and looking great planted in rockeries and containers too.
Saxifrage is a large genus of perennial plants and a lot of them are alpines, a popular mossy type is Saxifraga ‘Peter Pan’. A pretty compact evergreen plant that has mossy looking green foliage, forming a mound covered with pretty little red flowers in spring. It’s only a few centimetres high, likes moist but well-drained in sun or part shade. To keep it tidy it’s best to prune after flowering. There are a few of these types with pink or white flowers to suit any garden.
Rock cress like Arabis alp. caucasica ‘Snowcap’ is another good spreading alpine that will form a dense mat over time. It likes dryer ground, well-drained soil and in a sunny position. Both S. ‘Peter Pan’ and A. ‘Snowcap’ have the R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit.
A well known Saxifrage is ‘London’s Pride’, this one flowers during summer and is a good spreader it also comes in a variegated form and there as some others that have smaller foliage and more compact.