– Wall Cress, Rock Cress.
White. Flowers from March to May.
One of the most constant and self-reliant of
hardy spring flowers.
There are several varieties, including those with
yellow and with variegated foliage; but for ordinary
purposes nothing is required beyond the common
single Arabis albida or alpina and its double
The single Arabis may be raised from seed sown
in early summer, at the time of sowing such perennials
as Delphiniums or
Aquilegias; but when
once a few plants are obtained it can be divided
and transplanted almost to the last fibre.
After a couple of years’ growth it forms
a flat spreading cushion of grey-green leafage,
covered in early spring with a sheet of flowers
which almost hide the plant.
It will grow almost anywhere, but should have
some sun, at least, and is not the worse for having
some stones or rubble about its roots.
It is particularly happy in places where it can
hang down and form a mat, on a stony bank, or
the face of a wall, provided there is fair depth
of soil within reach of the roots.
Old plants are apt to straggle and grow thin in
the middle, besides too often encroaching on less
assertive neighbours, and it is well during February
to revise the clumps; if they have spread too
far, they may be cut back without much consideration;
worn-out patches should be forked up, and some
good healthy pieces taken off and planted to make
The double Arabis is a comparatively new introduction,
but a place should be found for it in the smallest
Its habit of growth resembles that of the single
sort, but the flowers are thrown up on longer
stems, in spikes much like double white stocks.
It must be obtained in plants, but after one summer’s
growth a number of cuttings may be made.
Take the wiry side shoots from the outside of
the tuft in August, and plant them in a plot of
sandy soil which must be kept moderately moist
and shaded from direct sun, or in a box in a frame
or cool greenhouse.
By October the cuttings will be nicely rooted,
and may be put out in the places where they are
Clumps of Arabis are favourite haunts of slugs
and snails, and in seasons when these are
plentiful the plants should be looked over with
a torch after dark.
See Also : Rock Cress