An alpinum adjacent to the King's House on Schachen in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

An alpine garden (or alpinarium, alpinum) is a domestic or botanical garden, or more often a part of a larger garden, specializing in the collection and cultivation of alpine plants growing naturally at high altitudes around the world, such as in the Caucasus, Pyrenees, Rocky Mountains, Alps, Himalayas and Andes. It is one of the most common types of rock garden.

An alpine garden tries to imitate the conditions of the plants' place of origin. One example of this is using large stones and gravel beds, rather than the soil that naturally grows there. Though the plants can cope with low temperatures, they dislike standing in damp soil during the winter months. The soil used is typically poor (sandy) but extremely well-drained. One of the main obstacles in developing an alpine garden is the unsuitable conditions which exist in some areas, particularly mild or severe winters and heavy rainfall, such as those present in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This can be avoided by growing the plants in an alpine house (essentially an unheated greenhouse), which tries to reproduce the ideal conditions, or just covering them with a raised sheet of glass in winter. According to some Austrian sources, the first true alpine garden was created by Anton Kerner von Marilaun in 1875 on the Blaser Mountain, in Tyrol, Austria, at an altitude of 2,190 m (7,190 ft).[1]


Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Typical plants found in an alpine garden include:[2]

Botanical gardens with an alpine house or garden

The alpinum in Botanischer Garten Bielefeld, Germany
The alpinum in Botanischer Garten Bielefeld, Germany
Alpinum in Orto botanico di Padova, Italy
The Netherlands
United Kingdom
United States

See also


  1. ^ Alpine garden in Austria-Forum (in German)  (at AEIOU)
  2. ^ Collins complete garden manual. United Kingdom: HarperCollins. 1998. p. 290. ISBN 0004140109.