White Flowers and Features in the Garden

Colour bed

White is the second most useful colour in the garden after green. I am progressively increasing the number and variety of white and grey plants that I grow.

White Flowers

  • Roses are a current favourite and there are white Species Roses that are worth seeking out. Rosa: arvensis, banksiae, fedtscenkoana, helenae, longcuspis and multiflora just as examples.
  • The early flowers of Snowdrops and the Christmas Rose Heleboris niger start the flowering year.
  • Camellia japonica Nobilissima and Tulip Purissima are pure spring whites .
  • Personally I like Cistus Corbariensis and Malva moschata Alba to contrast with green leaves and pink stamen.

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White Garden Flowers

Some of the best garden flowers are white! See our selection.

White Lily. A very delicate white with yellow stamen.

One of the favourite coloured flowers in the garden is white. The good news is that there is a huge variety of plants and flowers to choose from. White is admired for its simplicity and purity. White can go anywhere in the garden and will mix with any colour. Even on a dark day, white flowers can brighten up a darks spot of a garden. In addition to white flowers, also consider white / silver leaves and bark. For example, the lovely silver birch tree.


Small Chrysanthemum perennial


Snowdrops. Pure white in the depth of winter



Note this looks even better in early morning / late afternoon when the sun is less strong. Here the white stands out more. In the mid day sun, it can look a bit bleached by intensity of the sun.

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Snowdrop Tips and Locations

Snowdrops are officially called Galanthus. This snowdrop is Galanthus elwessii with larger than normal blooms and a honey scent the other main species are Nivalis and Plicatus. The snowdrop is very hardy, grows in most soils and prefers partial shade.

Gardeners Snowdrop Tips

  • Other AGM snowdrops include Galanthus nivalis and the double flowered version pleniflorus ‘Flora Pleno.’
  • For late flowering Galanthus there is a bell shaped flower Diggory or David Shakelton, Ikariae or Hill Poe
  • One of the earliest flowering is called Atkinsii.
  • For double varieties there is Lady Elphinstone, Nivalis  Flore Peno,  Hill Poe and Mrs Thompson.
  • Reginae-olgae can prove tricky to cultivate and seems to appreciate a drier and sunnier spot than but it is autumn flowering
  • There are some 75 species of snowdrop and many more cultivars and hybrids. Well worth making a collection of your favourites.


  • Snowdrop bulbs should not be allowed to dry out or they die.
  • Plant  with green leaves shortly after flowering no later than mid summer as they go dormant.
  • You can do worse that scrounge off neighbors when they split clumps as snowdrops spread quite effectively.
  • Snowdrops do not come true to seed except species but you can propagate by twin scaling.

The process was originally developed for narcissus, but works well with galanthus producing 10-30 new bulbs from one old one.

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Patterns from Alpine Plants

Art can be found in many situations and you don’t need to look too far in the alpine house.

See my many magnified, magnificent and magical mushrooms and alpines for startling patterns.


Getting up close and personal is one of the main ways to enjoy Alpine plants and succulent species.

Houseleeks seem to grow for the sake of making patterns from Hens and Chickens through to this rapidly reproduced colour scheme.  Other images on Google
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Rhodohypoxis for Massed Flowers

Tale Valley nursery hold a national collection of these floriferous plants.


For a short intensely coloured alpine or pot raised plant there is little to touch Rhodohypoxis. The flowers are thick and wax-like white or shades of pink to purple. Interesting doubles are now being bred such as ‘Lilly Jean’,  ‘Hope’ or ‘Kiwi Joy’.
Rhodohypoxis grows to 2″ in height although Rhodohypoxis deflexa only reaches 1″ or less depending on position in your garden and Rhodohypoxis ‘Tetra White’ can be 4″ tall.

Cultivation Tips

Regular dead-heading of the spent flowers helps to improve flowering performance.
Grown in plastic or terracotta pots, they are best re-potted every year.
Add a high potash slow release fertilizer into the compost at potting time.
Compost should be relatively free draining by adding from 30%+ grit to the growing media
Around May the first lance-shaped leaf growth appears. They are quite short and form a spikey matting until covered in flowers for the rest of summer.

Watering and Feeding

Rhodohypoxis will happily withstand freezing cold provided the plants are kept almost dry through winter.
Their chances of survival outdoors can be enhanced by placing a pane of glass over the top of them during their dormant period.
‘Containerised plants require plenty of moisture in the spring and summer which is reduced as the leaves start to die down in August to October depending on the variety.’
Provide a liquid feed to build up the, small corm like, root stock during the growing period.
Trim off dead foliage and store corms through winter in a cool environment.
Propagate by division when dormant.



Rhodohypoxis baurii
White flowers with shorter but wider leaves.
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February Garden Tips


Some tips for gardening in February

Garden Tasks for February

  • Finish Planting trees and shrubs. The earlier trees and shrubs can be planted the better
  • Prepare Soil. If the soil is not frozen it is a good time to prepare the soil through digging where necessary.
  • Finish Pruning of Roses or other shrubs
  • Towards the end of February, you can start dahlia tubers and similar tubers such gloxina and Begonias indoors.

Vegetable Garden in February

  • Sow early crops under glass. Early vegetables can included mustard, cress, parsnips, broad beans and lettuce.
  • Towards end of the month you can start thinning out seedlings
  • Prune Autumn fruiting Raspberries. Autumn producing raspberries want to be cut back to 6 inches as they fruit on new growth.


A bed of crocus

Things to Enjoy in the February Garden

  • Early bulbs – snowdrops, crocus, early daffodills.
  • Early primulas –
  • Early pansies
  • Camellia Japonica
  • Daphne



Making A Rock Garden or Rockery

A rock garden is a grand place to display your alpine plants. You can shade them with rocks, provide deep root runs and provide rain cover with perspex roofs

In Alpine conditions plants can shelter behind rocks that give them protection from wind and rain and help with drainage. Try to give your plants similar conditions to there original habitat and they will repay you for your attention to detail.

Tips for Making a Rock Garden

  • A rock garden should be open and unshaded by over hanging trees
  • There should be a slope either natural or built up. This allows plants on the North facing slope to receive 25% of the sun (and heat) of those on the South slope so those delicate plants don’t fry.
  • Study the prevailing wind so you know where most rain will fall and plant the rain shadow area with plants that need to stay dry.
  • If in doubt about drainage improve it by adding grit. If the soil is clay, a pile of brick rubble 15 inches below the surface will aid drainage no-end.
  • The soil can be average soil but will not need extra nutrients or fertilizer except for special situations. Pack all crevices tightly with soil to prevent unwanted pests like mice.
  • Plan your rock positions and lay the grain or style of rock all in the same direction. Do not mix rock types or the harmonious effect can be lost.
  • Do not plant higgledy piggeldy but select plants that fit into a simple plan. Keep slow growing plants needing similar conditions together. Consider haveing zones in the rockery for different plant requirements.
  • Mulch new plants with pea gravel

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Campanula Family for the Rockery

One of the smaller varieties of Campanula should ring a bell for rockery or alpine gardeners.


The bell flowers of Campanula come in many sizes upto 15 foot tall in the case of Campanula pyramidalis grown as a pot plant. The smaller low growing plants are more suitable for the Rockery or Alpine garden. The above example is growing in the space at the top of a low retaining wall and has been there very happily for at least 20 years.

Campanula Facts and Tips

  • The smallest Campanulas hug the ground and throw up flower stalks only a couple of inches. Campanula censia, C. excisa, C. pulla and C. Pusilla fit this category.
  • Campanula gargancia despite its name and C. rupestris have clusters of tiny star flowers that hug the ground.
  • All the miniature kinds of Campanula are at home in cool, semi-shaded nooks in the lower levels of the rockery.
  • Still diminutive in stature Campanula allioni or C. carpathica have larger saucer shaped flowers upto one foot tall.
  • Camapanula rotundifolia has blue, white or double forms.
  • Tufted and prostrate forms dived with ease in September. Those with errect stems need to be grown from cuttings.
  • Campanula barbata is biennial but the low growing C. aucheri is perennial and both have a long tap root that protects them from bad weather conditions.

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Alpine Growers Club AGS


This is an update from my last report on the AGS in September 2009. After 7 years of happy membership I am letting it lapse and saving the money to spend in the garden. The local branch society never lived up to my aspirations as a club despite some great speakers, I never felt part of the in crowd. The national society provided an excellent magazine and a seed distribution service which I will miss until I decide to rejoin.


For my birthday I received membership to the Alpine Garden Society ‘The Big Society for Small Plants’. The package supplied with my membership is very impressive, in addition to my national membership card I received a membership voucher for 1 years local group membership and a list of 53 regional venues. As a special offer my first years membership will run from August to the end of next year and at £25 for 16 months, it seems great value.

Alpine Package

Competitions and shows are a large part of the society’s activities . A full programme (72 pages) for 2009 with rules and specifications was sent with my pack. This years remaining events include, 26th September 2009 Gillingham Autumn show, October 3rd Loughborough show and October 10th Newcastle.  A 2010 programme  is promised shortly. Whilst I am not likely to enter competitions it was interesting to see what plant varieties were consistant winners.

The Alpine Gardener Bulletin volume 77 no.2 is a superbly produced 140+ page book with stunning pictures. Whilst this is the 80th anniversary edition I hope the other quarterly books are to the same standard. ‘Alpine news’ lists books and holidays for sale and it is a good idea keeping these adverts on a separate leaflet, away from the main publication.

Seed distribution is also one of the services the society offer and you get more seeds if you collect and donate your own seeds.

So far so good the Society seems to be a great advocate for Alpine gardening and have a good membership package. As with all societies I guess the more you put in the more you get out so it looks like I will have to polish my Alpine gardening skills.

Membership details available here.

alpine 076

The Scottish Rock Garden Club links with The RHS and Alpine Garden Society on the joiny Rock Garden Plant Committee.


Growing and Floristry of – Peruvian Lily

Alstroemeria is a beautiful flower also known as Peruvian Lily or Parrot Lily.

Cultivation of Peruvian Lilies

  • Alstromerias are tuberous perennial plants for the border and grow deeply in light soil.
  • If the conditions are dry when in flower give them a good watering to boost flower production.
  • Plant roots in the dormant season after November. They don’t like to be moved as the roots break easily, if you do transplant dig deeply as the roots are drawn down.
  • Propagate from finger length roots or with some skill grow from seed. Pull up old stalks to encourage growth from the roots.
  • Plants will grow in large deep pots and provide flowers for long periods.


These stunning plants add an exotic touch to any flower arrangement with their elaborate blend of vividly coloured and intricately marked flowers. I like the red yellow and white varieties which are easy to grow once they get started forming a good clump in the border.

  • When picking for the vase pull the stalk up then cut to length as needed and they will last up to three weeks.
  • Remove all leaves as they yellow before the flowers die
  • Do not disbud
  • Many of the shop bought flowers are from Kenya and Chile but they are east to grow yourself

Varieties to Consider

·Alstroemeria pulchella the parrot lily and Alstroemeria aurantiacastrong orange shades and Alstroemeria aurea

·Alstroemeria Ligtu hybrids are shorter and may be used in containers. Also called the lily of the Nile

·Inca Hybrids are also on offer in some areas

·A. psittacina ‘Casablanca’ claims to being white, but the markings create a special effect.

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