This page has had 2160 visitors to 18.10.16                                                    The Alpine Garden in Pitcairngreen – designed and planted by Jean Band.

For a very long time I have been wanting to visit an alpine garden which is open only one day in the year. I saw the 2012 advert but no times were published. I phoned the given number to find out that Jean Band, the lady whose garden it was, had died shortly after the open day last year. Her husband said we would be most welcome to come along on the understanding that teas, plants etc were not going to be on offer. We were thrilled at what we found and although it was a very sunny day I did manage to take some photos to give you a flavour of what is in the garden.
1. The pond

 2. from the opposite side.


Primulas of all shapes and sizes and in colours ranging from white to deep red were everywhere especially Primula Beesiana (Candelabra primulas) . They were reflected in the pond above to great effect.
3. The chaff, left over after daughter Susan, owner of Pitcairn Alpines, has collected her seeds, is scattered in the hen run. The hens leave the resulting plants to flourish.

4. At first glance I thought this was P. Viallii which it definitely is not. Whoops, having had a closer look I think this is an orchid not a primula.

5. and I think these are P. seeboldii showing off the meconopsis.

6. A closer look at this stunning blue flower. In the background the giant leaves of Cardiocrinum are reaching for their eventual height of 2m +. Scented trumpets will adorn these beauties.

7. Around the garden were helianthemums in jewel bright colours.



10.Beautiful grouping choice of tiarella, aquilegia, smilacina racemosa (tall white plumes at the back) and anemone nemorosa Vestal

11.A close up of a stunning aquilegia

12. I think this is Roscoea cautleyoides

13. The towering white rhododendron was hard hit by the frosts earlier in the year but it provided some protection for the red rhododendron and it looks spectacular with that big bank of euphorbia
14. A closer look at the euphorbia

15. and look what is hiding between them. Carved from a dead tree trunk.

A few more to whet your appetite
16. For some reason my camera refused to pick up the solid yellow colour of this flower, Pulsatilla alpina apiifolius.

17. I think this might have been a type of gyphsophilla. Tulipa sprengeri is a late flowering scarlet tulip which likes growing amongst dwarf shrubs which are not in full sun.

18. Another pretty group.

19. Birch tree and lilac and a very sculptural tree, might be a larix.

20. I think this is Oxalis enneaphylla.

21. A white daisy flower, yellow flowered chiastophyllum oppositifolium and the seed pods which are all that is left of the helleborus argutifolius

22. Dainty shooting stars of Dodecatheon ? pulchellum

23. This white daisy with stiff grey foliage was the perfect partner for the orange/yellow welsh poppy.

We were invited to take tea and Jeans husband showed us the tribute to his wonderful wife in the AGS magazine which came out in January 2012. She was a remarkable lady. At age sixteen, soon after she left school, just after WW2 she realised that with all the devastation in Europe there was going to be a shortage of cut flowers. She built a very successful business supplying the wholesale market throughout the UK. As time went on she felt the need to diversify and started growing Christmas trees and heather. She supplied the travelling families with white heather so if you bought a bit of lucky white heather it probably came from here. In the 70’s when heather beds were planted and very fashionable, in all likelihood this is where those plants originated. She got married and had children but always kept an eye on her business even when she had to move to several different places throughout the uk to be with her husband. Shortly after her last Open Day she took ill and died. It was a shock for the family and for her wide circle of friends and colleagues. They knew her as a vibrant active woman. She lives on in the wonderful inspiring garden which she built and which she shared with those lucky enough to see it. We felt very privileged to have been allowed to visit and enjoy it. Her daughter Susan is carrying on in mums footsteps. She set up and owns Pitcairn Alpines which is to offer retail sales on the internet for the first time this year. Until now she has been strictly trade sales only. We wish her well in her new enterprise and would recommend a look at her website if you want something different.

Suntrap Gardening Club meet at 7.15pm in the Common Room at  

Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled 21 Ravelrig Gait Balerno Edinburgh EH14 7NH

Details on getting there are on

Community Web Kit provided free by BT