Jewels and Miniature Marvels – the Alpine House at RHS Wisley, this time… @RHSWisley @The_RHS #AlpineHouse

The Alpine House at Kew – technicolor dreams…


Having visited the architecturally distinctive Davies Alpine House at Kew recently, I was prompted to head out to Wisley today – early, given the weather forecast of rain by lunchtime – and to take in the Magnolias (of course) and Battleston Hill generally (for the camellias and rhododendrons and any other early blossom) – and also the Alpine House. A little Garden Centre Geekery in the Plant Centre too, of course, but all of that in time. Alpines first…

Of traditional construction, with a pitched roof and two long benches internally, where terracotta pots of the freshest specimens are sunk into the sandy surface (which keeps them cool and helps drainage) this has the advantage of presenting them all at a convenient height for intimate viewing! I don’t need to lie full length on the floor as I do at Kew. Useful, as it was a very busy attraction today.

The line of one bench is broken up with some tufa extrusions, but I confess the specimens finding their home in this beige-ery do not temp. I’m after miniature fireworks!

IMG_0263Outside, a new alpine rockery feature has been bedding in for the last couple of years, with shards of rock laid vertically and planted up in the nooks and crannies. Striking, as a construction but it has yet to make a horticultural statement. The troughs and pots however, which populate the upper and lower terraces, making use of slate and terracotta tiles and pipes, rock, scree and gravel, are altogether more successful, offering up miniature landscapes. Sadly, I neglected to photograph any of them! Next time…

The lower Alpine House, I am sure, is a veritable horticultural treasure house, but lacks the concentration of colour that an Alpine Philistine like myself comes to seek…

IMG_0365In this regard, the Davies Alpine House is more successful, a marriage of this landscaped-presentation with the more traditional raised bench Alpine House…..


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