Build a mini alpine trough

Try this fantastic early-season project


These make great outdoor table centres, or larger ones are perfect spring additions to your patio planting. Head down to many garden centres now and you’ll see fresh spring alpine and rockery plants on display for sale, such as tempting spring blue-flowered aubretias, sedums, erodiums and iberis, plus echeverias and other succulents.

Larger garden centres, such as Dobbies in particular, have a vast range of paraphernalia to make your own mini troughs – a fantastic early spring project to get you going for the season!

Pick a trough – light plastic replicas are perfect for the job, and will be lighter and more manageable than real ones. Ensure it has drainage holes.

Next select your rocks if you have room, small and large in different coloured striations. Cover the drainage holes with a few large pebbles and gravel to aid drainage and prevent holes clogging up, and then fill up your container with a light free-draining compost such as 50 per cent John Innes no.2 mixed with 50 per cent grit. Arrange your plants and set them in, firming down nicely. Place your rocks and stones around and finish with a later of grit or gravel on top around the plants.

Here are GN’s recommendations for a spring rockery. Click the images to find out more!