The first signs of Spring are appearing in the shade tunnel in the Alpine yard. We moved the alpine Scottish natives under cover in December to avoid the worst of the winter wet. Whilst many species survive outside without any problems once planted, they are vulnerable to rotting off when in plastic pots. This added protection has persuaded a few species that warmer weather has arrived early, and we have a beautiful display of flowers from Saxifraga oppositifolia, the Purple Saxifrage. This low growing plant occurs in mountain areas throughout the British Isles and is a good indicator of calcareous soils and rocks.
New leaves of Artemisia norvegica, Norwegian Mugwort, are also starting to appear. Having seen this plant in flower on the top of a windswept Torridonian mountain it will be interesting to see how quickly it emerges in our relatively benign conditions, and whether it will flower this year.