Many gardeners would love a fantastic, large rockery to fill with loads of alpine plants, spilling over clusters of stone. But not everyone has the room, so we have to improvise.
Alpine and rockery plants are wonderful but if you’ve got limited space you need to find other ways of using them. One way is to make up lots of rustic terracotta planters and dot them about all the sunny spots of the garden. Lots of mini alpine gardens, then.
Terracotta drains well for alpines and it looks very smart and elegant set against the gravel and spilling foliage and flowers. Garden centres stock a wide range of sizes – either shallow pans in varying shapes or something a little taller.
Simply fill with multipurpose compost mixed through with a couple of handfuls of grit and pop in your plants. Top with gravel – try white gravel for optimum style.
Some alpines are shade tolerant, though most like a good spot of sun.
Saxifrage ‘Cloth of Gold’ – A zingy lime green cushion of leaves topped with white flowers. Its foliage is its centrepiece but the spring flowers are charming. Height 10cm.
Sedum spurium ‘Schorbuser Blut’ – A dragon’s blood sedum with burgundy-green leaves and summer red flowers all summer. Likes dry, poor soil. Height 10cm.
Erodium variabile ‘Flore Pleno’ – An exquisite little erodium to spread about with cute little double flowers to top it off. Flowers spring to autumn. Height 8cm.
Potentilla neumanniana ‘Nana’ – A compact green foliage mat with the loveliest bright yellow flowers in spring to brighten any rockery. Height 10cm.