The exquisite symmetry of the star-shaped blooms of saxifrages has captivated gardeners for centuries. Close observation of their fine markings, artful color combinations, and graceful presence makes it eminently clear why they attract such an enthusiastic following. Many saxifrages come from mountain habitats that make them well-suited to rock gardens, troughs, and containers, but the diverse genus includes a huge range of garden worthy plants that deserve to be better known and more widely grown. This book brings together accounts of garden and wild saxifrages, their botany, history, cultivation and propagation. All sections of genus Saxifraga are described, first discursively for the general gardener and then from a botanical viewpoint. There are the dwarf cushion saxifrages whose perfect domes of foliage are studded with jewel-like flowers, the silver saxifrages whose distinctive rosettes and fountain sprays of white flowers associate well with ordinary garden plants, and the mossy saxifrages whose highly prized cultivars have enhanced gardens since the end of the nineteenth century.
Malcolm McGregor's advice on using saxifrages in different parts of the garden and his list of the top 100 saxifrages will be invaluable to gardeners new to the genus and to experts who wish to diversify. This is the fascinating story of a true enthusiast's search for saxifrages in the wild, his techniques for successful cultivation, and his continuing quest for information. It will increase understanding of this plant, inspire everyone to grow more saxifrages in their gardens, and satisfy specialists and enthusiasts for decades to come.
Malcolm McGregor was born in 1947 in London, and has been growing alpine plants for over 25 years - and saxifrages for most of that time. He says that it is the unforced charm of mountain plants that most attracts him. Malcolm was the editor of the Scottish Rock Garden Club (2000-2006), and the Saxifrage Society (1993-2003), as well as chairman of the Saxifrage Society (2003-2006). He has traveled widely in search of saxifrages - in North America, Europe, Turkey, Morocco, the Himalayas, the Olympic Mountains, Austria, and Italy. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and philosophy from the University of York, as well as a bachelor's degree in English literature and economic history from the University of Hull. Malcolm has been a professional teacher and lecturer for thirty-five years as well as having worked in arts administration and in writing computer software for the engineering industry. He is now a freelance writer and an enthusiastic lecturer on alpine plants and gardening. He has twice undertaken lecture tours across North America for the North American Rock Garden Club and once for the Scottish Rock Garden Club. He has written several titles including: Saxifrages: The Complete Cultivars and Hybrids, and Saxifrages from Scratch. Malcolm currently lives in East Yorkshire, England.