Capanula Bellflower creeping out the walls in St Werburghs park Bristol

Alpine Plants Creeping Around Bristol

Alpines; we love these at Roots, they’re plentiful and varied – ranging from climbers to rockery plants to trees – and often they’re evergreen too.

Many are slow-growing and compact, providing small gardens with some all-round colour and texture. Despite their name there are varieties that will (and happily do) exist in most climates, though as a rule of thumb, they do like good drainage. As well as the all-round foliage you will have at least one, generally long, show of flowers too.

The beautiful – and randomly prolific – Campanula, can be seen pouring out of walls all over Bristol at the moment. Better known as Bellflower, there are hundreds of varieties and while not all are long-lasting, when cut, the spectrum of blues, pinks, purples, yellows and whites provides lots of choice. Because they are particularly hard to grow from seed, it’s worth investing in a potted plant if you want to introduce them to your garden.

Capanula Bellflowers by the river in St Werburghs Park, Bristol

Capanula – St Werburghs Park, Bristol

The same is true for Lobelia – unsurprisingly it’s often confused with Campanula – as it also grows out of walls, can be evergreen and very hard to grow from seed.  Common names for this include Sweet Asylum and Snow Drift and it gives off a scent that’s been described as “sweet honey in summer.”

Less loved by today’s gardeners but a long-term favourite of municipal designers, has been the Laurel. An alpine that provides cover for unsightly railings, divides park play areas and doesn’t wither and die despite frequently being rained on by dogs. There’s also a really pretty, creamy-white flower that, ironically, stinks a little like cat piss, but thankfully its appearance makes up for its smell.

So next time you’re out in Bristol, keep an eye out for these wonderful alpine plants adding a little extra colour to the city walls.

Written by Lilian McGroarty

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