In the wild, alpine plants have a limited growing season of a few weeks each year. Protected by a covering of snow in winter, snowmelt in spring provides the moisture they need to grow. High-altitude exposes them to drying winds and intense sunlight. Alpine plants are able to photosynthesise at low and even sub-zero temperatures.
Most alpine plants need to be kept cool, even in an English summer. The displays in this house are changed continuously to give plants a period of rest or dormancy. The traditional plunge beds allow us to keep the sand watered in warm weather, keeping temperatures down.
Throughout the year, cushion plants, small shrubs, herbaceous perennials, bulbs and corms can be seen. Plants such as cyclamen, narcissus, primulas, tulips, sempervivums and ferns also feature in these displays.