Alpines are well represented in the garden, growing in scree beds, rockeries, troughs and alpine houses. Although best in spring and summer for the number and variety of species, they provide all year round interest.


Visitors can see a large variety of plants including well known genera like Gentiana, Primula and Saxifraga as well as the lesser known Benthaniella, Dionysia and Zaluzianskya.


The underlying rock in the garden is Coniston Grit, which occasionally forms surface features.  The main alpine area is uphill in the Upper Garden, with smaller areas located in both the Lower and Walled Gardens.  Scree beds and rockeries are topped with gravel to ensure better drainage away from the plants' collars.


Above the Courtyard are two raised beds filled with cushion and mat-forming plants, leading on to deep open scree beds with very good drainage and little in the way of compost.  These colourful areas contain many cascading plants, such as Dianthus and Helianthemum, low growing shrubs including Crassula and Prostanthera, lots of well known alpine plants typified by Androsace, Erodium and Gentiana, plus a host of spring bulbs.


Next we come to three alpine houses.  The large display house is used chiefly for plants which may be difficult, sometimes impossible, to grow outside.  Although they can stand low temperatures, even freezing, they do need protection from the winter wet, particularly in this district.  Plants are grown in clay pots which are plunged into sharp sand.  Between spring and autumn the plunge is watered from below automatically.  At present over 350 plants are used for display, (although not all at one time).  Small collections of Campanula, Pleione and Primula auricula exist and lesser known species, Dionysia, Zaluzianskya, Nototriche, from regions like Iran, South Africa, South America have been introduced .


Adjacent are our propagating house and cold frames, these being restricted to members and particularly volunteers.  This is where plants are maintained, being prepared for display or re-potted and rested.


Behind the display house is a tufa wall planted mainly with Lewisia.


Finally we come to the Tufa House which was originally a Victorian pit house.  On one side, large blocks of tufa have been used to construct walled feature, and opposite is a raised bed incorporating smaller blocks of tufa.  On the end wall is an impressive waterfall cascading over thin slates.  Within the Tufa House plants are permanently sited, in some cases having been growing over a long period of time as can be seen in very large cushions of Dianthus, Draba and Helichrysum as well as cascades of Saxifraga and Verbascum “Letitia”.  There is a very fine plant of Saxifraga forrestii.





Beyond the Alpine Houses is the main landscaped rockery with lots of interest.  The area is covered in plants of all descriptions;  from carpeting to crevice, sun-loving to shade-loving and, in spring, a host of bulbs.  The plant content is too large to list here, but amongst the species well represented are Cyclamen, Geranium, Helianthemum, Erodium and Saxafraga.


There are special beds for autumn Gentians (a must see in September and October) and Asiatic Primulas.


In the Walled Garden on the northern side, there is a planted wall and a number of troughs on the adjacent paved area which are planted up with alpines.  On the Lower Terrace near the steps to the fountain is a large rock which has been planted with a variety of alpines.



In our main Hydrangea area there is a patch where the soil is far too shallow for Hydrangeas.  At present this is also used for alpines. However plans are under way to construct a Crevice Garden here.


You will find other alpines dotted about the garden in the front of borders or planted in convenient rock crevices.



Click here to see our alpine gallery.