Garden Photo of the Day

The Wave Hill Alpine House

Special plants in a public garden

wide view of wave hill alpine house

Today’s photos were sent in by Sandra Schaller. Sandra works at Wave Hill, a fantastic public garden in the Bronx in New York City. She recently took over care of the alpine house in the garden and is sharing some of the marvelous plants that grow there. Alpine houses are specialized greenhouses used for growing unusual plants native to alpine regions, rather than the lush tropicals grown in a typical greenhouse.

pot full of pink and yellow flowersOxalis obtusa (Zones 8–10) is a fabulous flowering bulb from South Africa, which is in active growth in the cooler months of the year and goes dormant in the summer. The alpine house protects it from cold winter temps and allows it to stay dry during its summer dormancy.

alpine house full of potted plants and seeds being startedThe alpine house includes pots of germinating seeds. Sandra is working on rebuilding the alpine collection, so there is lots of propagating going on!

plant growing through rockA little saxifrage (Saxifraga sp.) growing through a chunk of porous rock. Many alpine plants can thrive in conditions that seems inhospitable to other plants.

japanese maple grown side along with other plants in potsA beautiful Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) grows in one of the beds in the alpine house. While it doesn’t need the shelter of the house to thrive, it certainly looks beautiful there. To the right you can see ceramic pots sunk down into the sand of the beds. This helps insulate the roots from hot and cold temperatures.

dark purple and white flowersThe incredibly dramatic flowers of an alarm ginger (Asarum maximum, Zones 7–9). These cool blooms are produced at ground level so they can be pollinated by beetles. Growing alarm ginger in a raised bench in the alpine house allows humans to enjoy them without having to get down on their knees.

Alpine primrose seedlingsAlpine primroses (Primula auricula hybrids, Zones 5–7) are classic inhabitants of alpine houses in Europe. They’ll produce marvelously beautiful flowers once they mature.

bright pink and yellow flowerLewisia cotyleden (Zones 5–8) is native to dry western North America. The alpine house protects it from excessive rain, allowing it to produce its brilliantly colored blooms.

box full of new plantsSandra is rebuilding the plant collection, so beautiful new alpine plants are arriving, like this box of goodies from the wonderful nursery Wrightman Alpines.

rock garden bed full of succulentsOutside the alpine house are the rock garden beds, where other alpine plants and hardy succulents thrive in well-drained soil.

wide view of wave hill alpine houseCheck out the alpine house next time you are in New York!


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 05/19/2022

    I loved this. Very interesting and the plants are wonderful!

  2. JimmyKok 05/19/2022

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  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/19/2022

    I have never heard of this garden. Would love to visit.

  4. gardendevas 05/19/2022

    Fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 05/19/2022

    Now that's a DREAM JOB! Wow what a cool place to work!
    Great photos!

  6. btucker9675 05/19/2022

    Wave Hill is a marvelous garden in a marvelous setting along the Hudson River and features wonderful art works throughout the grounds. The photos of these Alpine plants are beautiful. As it's 94 degrees here today, those lovely things would not be very happy in my garden.

  7. taareni9 05/20/2022

    Very interesting and the plants are wonderful!

  8. taareni9 05/23/2022

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. DotTrust 08/04/2022

    Very interesting and the plants are wonderful !

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