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A Midland Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: 10 January 2010 by Diane Clement

Diary Entry No 21 Alpine conditions - and some non-alpines

Alpine conditions

I start my diary for 2010 with Best Wishes for the New year to all who visit this site.

Snow has covered the garden for about three weeks now.  Here in the Midlands we have not had as much as many others in the country.  We have had about 5” of snow and the lowest temperature has been about -8C.  However, because the daytime temperature has not crept much above 0C, the ground has remained frozen. 

Snowy conditions

We have three greenhouses in the garden (another on the allotment across the road).  I refer to these greenhouses as 'his' and 'hers'.  The greenhouse furthest from the house is 'his' although in these cold conditions, I have sneaked in a few of my plants.  The reason for this is that it is heated to a minimum of 3C and it is therefore a safe environment. 

I have a small collection of Chinese gesneriads which will tolerate a few degrees of frost but I cannot trust the weather forecast, so I would rather they are kept frost free to be safe.   

The petrocosmeas actually flower in the winter, a welcome interest in the darkest months


Petrocosmea rosettifolia:  in flower and a young plant


Propagation of petrocosmeas is undertaken either by removing a small rosette that forms under the main plant, or by leaf cutting, much the same way as for African violets.

Petrocosmea grandiflora

Leaf cuttings                                                                   A young plant

A young plant in flower


Chiritas and Conandrons flower in the summer and at this time of year they are kept fairly dry.   


Chirita liboensis                                                           Chirita sclerophylla

Some non-alpines

The real reason for the heated greenhouse, is that my husband has a collection of succulents so I thought I would include some pictures of these non-hardy, non-alpines for this diary entry.

A collection of Crassulaceae, these are non hardy sempervivum-relatives mainly from Mexico

Some non-alpines

Gasteria are South African relatives of Aloe, adapted to cope with dry conditions with their fleshy leaves.  Some of these have incredible reptilian texture and markings on their leaves

Gasteria carinata var verrucosa

Gasteria batesiana

and a collection of Haworthia, relatives of Gasteria

Haworthia viscosa                                                                Haworthia emelyae var comptoniana

I hope that some thawing will take place in the next few days and there will be some flowers to show in the unheated greenhouses next week. 

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