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Cover alpines with a small cloche or pane of glass to keep off the worst of the rain. These exquisite little plants don't mind extreme cold, but can't tolerate soggy soil. Any with woolly or fleshy leaves, such as lewisias and saxifrages, are particularly susceptible so keep as dry as possible.
Plant of the Week: Sarcococca
This modest, unassuming plant has a secret weapon. Sarcococca, also known as Christmas box, is for most of the year a handsome evergreen with small, glossy leaves, low maintenance and the perfect backdrop to set off more colourful summer flowers. Then in December its tiny, almost invisible flowers open wide and release scent so glorious it'll fill the whole garden.
There are two types: the neat Sarcococca confusa, forming a dome around 1.2m tall, and S. hookeriana var. digyna with narrow, gracefully pointed leaves. Look out, too, for S. humilis, which makes a low hummock, easily trimmed into a low hedge as a substitute for disease-prone box.