The Dolomites, late June 2015
Late June and early July are perfect for seeing the Dolomites flowers. A walk from the Pordoi Pass gives a quick introduction to the plants as well as fine views of Marmolada, the highest peak.
Pulsatilla alpina var. apiifolia was in full bloom, but Pulsatilla vernalis had long finished.
Gentiana acaulis is widespread in the alps, but its vivid colour always attracts attention. In the garden we can have flowers in every month of the year.
Primula halleri, with its distinctive long-tubed corolla.
Eritrichium nanum, one of the most sought-after European alpines (but almost impossible to cultivate) grows right by the path.
Daphne cneorum is often detected first by its scent.
A visit to Val Monzoni started with a long walk through woods, where Moneses uniflora was a welcome find. It also occurs in Scotland, but only in a very few places.
The Monzoni valley has volcanic intrusions through the predominantly dolomite rock. Here you can walk up the boundary line, with plants to left and right almost completely different.
High up, Ranunculus glacialis grows on rocks where little else survives.
The high meadows contained two primulas. Primula minima is very low, with bright pink flowers with divided petals.
Primula glutinosa has stems with several purple flowers ...
... and occurs in vast numbers.
Sometimes Primula minima and P. glutinosa grow together ...
... and then the hybrid Primula x floerkeana can occur. It has the taller stems and multiple flowers characteristic of P. glutinosa, but the individual flowers resemble those of P. minima.
At the very top of the valley, just within a metre of the ridge line, Eritrichium nanum flourishes.
After overnight rain, the skies cleared for a wonderful walk all the way round Sassolungo.
The descent from the pass is steep and rough, but has fine views to the west.
On the screes grows Thlaspi rotundifolium. The pink-flowered form is abundant, but there were a few plants of the rarer white-flowered form.
The sky remained clear all day, giving fine views of the Sella Group as we returned in the afternoon.
The short trip ended with a walk through the woods on Monte Alben, in the foothills of the Alps above Bergamo.
Cyclamen europaeum was scattered through the woods, but never with many flowers.
The birds-nest orchid, Neottia nidus-avis, is usually found under beech trees. It doesn't have any chlorophyll, so it is dependent on associated fungi for its nutrition.
Lilium martagon was reasonably abundant, but Lilium bulbiferum was represented by just this one plant, with one flower.
Primula albenensis had finished flowering, but in the same rock crevices there were flowering plants of Physoplexis comosa.