Last Thursday 10th April we had the official opening of the new Alpine Display House, sponsored by Alitex, after a lot of hard work by staff in many departments to ensure everything was ready in time. I was joined by our President Peter Buckley and the mother of Alitex CEO Tom Hall for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. But we had no ribbon. Instead the currently-resident willow weaver Tom Hare had enlisted the help of children to create a linked chain made of willow. Find out more about our willow weaving next week….
Alitex have been involved with Wisley since the early 1990s, and support the RHS at our shows and in The Garden magazine. I’m sure many of you visited the domestic-sized traditional Victorian-style glasshouse on the recently cleared old glasshouse site. Since this one had to go, and the old Alpine Display house needed attention, I offered them the opportunity to use this site. Alitex have done a wonderful job here by fitting a new structure on the brick base of its predecessor with an additional south facing projection to increase display area. It also has increased and improved ventilation, which is of such importance to moisture and temperature sensitive alpine plants.
Paul Cumbleton, senior supervisor of the Woody and Alpine department has a blog where you can see all sorts of fine detail about the work of the Alpine section. Logs 1, 2 and 4 of 2007 show in great detail the removal of the old display house and the construction of the new Alitex house http://www.srgc.org.uk/wisley/wisleylog.html
If you are inspired to find out more about alpines, the two most important sites for alpines in the UK are the Scottish Rock Garden Club website at http://mygarden.rhs.org.uk/tiny_mce/jscripts/tiny_mce/www.srgc.org.uk and the Alpine Garden Society at http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/ Links given on these sites will lead out into many other worthy sites of interest to alpine growers. Find out more about Alitex and their glasshouses on their website http://www.alitex.co.uk/