LEN BEER MEMORlAL LECTURE
18th March, 2005
Alpines of Europe – in the Wild and in Cultivation
We first met Jim when he was the proprietor of Edrom Nursery, in Berwickshire. We spent many happy hours finding alpine treasures, and talking to Jim about where they were found in the wild, and how best to grow them.
His enthusiasm was as infectious then, as it was in this lecture, in which he shared his depth of knowledge, and experience, gained over many years working at nurseries and botanic gardens here and abroad.
His talk covered a wide range of plants, from woodlanders such as hepaticas and primroses to high alpine plants such as Androsace and Eritrichium, not forgetting Pulsatilla, Anemone and other members of his favourite family. The various ways of growing the plants were described in relation to their natural habitats, with a passionate plea for the merits of troughs, tufa and a dolomitic limestone grit from a quarry near Ben Nevis. There was something here for everyone, from the beginner to those who were looking for a challenge, and he made it sound like fun.
Every so often, I am reminded how privileged I am – to know people like Jim, to have seen these beautiful plants in their homes and to be able to grow some of them in my garden. This was one of those occasions.
I’m looking forward to his book on this subject, which is published later this year (I know – a shameless plug).