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Author Topic: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)  (Read 83514 times)

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #300 on: May 25, 2017, 09:12:38 PM »
UPDATE 1, MAY 2017
 

Sorry for being so late with the first 2017 garden update.

It now will be a short month since the gardening season has begun.

Snow has melt really early this spring. It might have been the case from as soon as mid-late march for the most exposed part of the gardens and the very last winter snowpatch quickly went away just a few days after we arrived by late april.

So a big part of the vernal blossoms was already over or on the way to before we even got to the garden ( Anemone vernalis, Primula rosea, Primula denticulata).

Really cool weather came then during the second april-half, stopping the further growth of plants and flowers. The garden experienced strong frost at the beginning of this colp period: possibly down to -7/-8c, snowless, on plants that were already more or less awaken from the winter sleep.

Winter has been very average, if not a bad one.

A first promising snow period in early November lasted unfortunately only 2 weeks. From that on nothing  else then, not one snowflake anymore untill the end of december. Just like 2015, December 2016 has once again run almost totally dry apart from some raindrops in the end! You just have to think that this month in particular used to be amongst the wettest during the year...

Fierce  frost and snowless in early January, down to -10/-15C. This was just too much for some plants : Raoulias for example will need a peaceful growing season now to recover, juste as the Scleranthus from NZ. Looks like all Primula capitata died everywhere, both in pots and in the rockbed. Many losses in pots in the propagation area, where the young plants were sometimes not strong enough to exprience such low temperatures. Amongst them again quite a lot of diverse Primula, and complete rows of mediterranean mountains alpine. The adventure is over with Cardiocrinum giganteum, the last mature bulb rotted/froze last winter.

Then came the second and last snow period of the winter, right after this very cold period : 2 weeks of snow opportunities during January, however with small accumulations in the end ( seems it never went deeper than 60/70cm ).

Winter was on the whole over from late February on, with some last snowy days hidden between long spells of very mild temperatures which forbade any further solid snowcover.

So we are today!

Some beautiful views of the ephemeral snow by late april, which would have been so deeply appreciated in some of the worse parts of the winter:





And to change, the first flower pictures from the last 3 weeks.

Aquilegia jonesii to begin with:



Ok the picture is miserable, the plant isnt' really shown at its best, and some of you certainly manage its cultivation far better. But! I am really happy : I  have finally found THE place and THE soil-mix which apparently both please it. I mean it could be a  plant that will  now live its life alone there , without special care. And I can live without the fear of loosing it for some silly cultivation mistake.

I had 3 plants. I left on in a pot on the propagation area, it didn't do well, and I almost lost it after 2 years. It is now planted in a trough, and seems to recover a bit.

I had another plant which I planted in one place in the north american bed. But it's dead meanwhile. Don't know exactly why, but it never really did well.

And I have now this one, which thrives very well and even tried a first blossom this year. Unfortunately, I should have covered the flowers . They rotted under maybe too permanent rain far more quickly than I would have thought. Next time then!

By the way, the soil mix is granite, a bit of humus, and it dries out quite quickly. Full sun.



Anemone vernalis

One of the last flowers I could catch. You have seen this plant in every early update of the previous years, and I believe you will see it again in the years to come. I simply adore that flower and beginning a season without the possibility to see at least a flower it in its full glory would just be hard for me ;)

Gentiana verna was also very fit this spring. But is now over with its unbelievably blue flowers. No picture, cannot already tell the same again as for Anemone vernalis...

Let's go on with Androsace mucronifolia then:




Often confused with the somewhat larger and less tight Androsace sempervivoides which can send rosettes quite far from the mother plant. A.mucronifolia stays rather on place and the rosettes are seemingly more compact. By looking very close, you can also see kind of tiny spines on each leaftip, hence the specific name ( not sure if A.sempervivoides also has this feature, or at least not so distinctly marked)





NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #301 on: May 25, 2017, 09:12:54 PM »
UPDATE 1, MAY 2017


Another Primulaceae member, from northern America:



Douglasia laevigata

As the years go by and as the plants fill the north american rockbed, it comes out that more and more most of them are pink to violet! Full coincidence or maybe this is a predominant colour in Rockies alpine plants, I don't know but the list is meanwhile very long: Claytonia megarhiza, Lewisia cotyledon, Primula parryi, Primula rusbyi/ellisiae, Arabis lyallii, Mimulus lewisii, Olsynium douglasii, the many Dodecatheon, Collomia debilis, Aster coloradoensis, aso...This is such a striking thing that the rockbed becomes really dominated by this colour during late spring/early summer. Beautiful anyway.




Ranunculus crenatus.

Also a plant that appears in the early season updates. When reaching flowering peak during May it is just a beautiful display in the moist rockbed where it selfseeds freely.




Primula strumosa

That Primula took its time to get to flowering age, about 4/5 years. Patience was worth it. But not smell! It has an uncredibly strong and disgusting fox'piss smell! Many times when I came to watch it I always thought to myself there must have been a fox around here recently. As the days went and as more flowers opened and foliage expanded, the smell just became worse, untill I once wanted to see what smell this plant could have. I have been learned that day...

Anyway this is an adorable Primula, even if it superficially looks like our common native Primula elatior.




Let's leave for a short moment the flower pictures.

This new place has been meant to give explanations about alpine plants and the way they cope with the environmental constraints in their natural habitats. So people will find on small boards informations on why plants are small/hairy/cushion shaped...and will have the possibility to look immediately and right into the eyes of the most characteristic plants showing each of these adaptations, cultivated in troughs just beside the board.

I am curious to see how this will work for the first season/if people will be much interesting in this new approach of the garden.

A characteristic plant that would deserve a royal place in one of those troughs would be of course Androsace helvetica:



I just don't dare touching it, as it seems quite happy after 3/4 years of pot cultivation.

Cultivating high altitude Androsaces is a bit if a challenge here, above all for vertical cliffs ( and  notably difficult) species like A.helvetica which most of the time doesn't know what snow protection is, whereas it can sometimes be covered by snow during several months here. Last winter was snowpoor, that's maybe why the plant did not that bad, giving a good blossom and most important not having shrinked.

The pot is placed in the propogation area, and I covered it before we leave in late autumn with a metal grid that won"t let too much snow get through so that maybe the plant won't have too much direct contact with snow, especially when it's wet and causing the cushion to rot. But in any way, if there is 1m snow above that grid, the plant under won't have the benefit of enjoying neither frost which it doesn't absolutely  fear, nor good air movement in the fresh air outthere.

So I am particularly happy to get A.helvetica to that stage these last years: at least living, and flowering from time to time;)

NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #302 on: May 25, 2017, 09:13:04 PM »
UPDATE 1, MAY 2017




Blue had to find a place in this first 2017 update ;)

That plant was given as Corydalis curviflora, probably var.rosthornii, and seems to be a selection from a wild chinese introduction: 'Blue Heron'.




Anemone obtusiloba, for its glorious light yellow flowers.



Another blue, this one from the meanwhile well known Corydalis cashmeriana in the different updates.



And again this beautiful light yellow, now from Meconopsis integrifolia.

Last year, the season's beginning was so wet that all flower buds of this species rot before opening,  hindering any seed formation. As a monocarp species, they nevertheless perished.

I am relieved this species recently had a dry period. I had to protect the first flowers from rain for 10 days or so, because it looked like they were going to go the same way as last year again but this is now not necessary anymore, and pollination can take place. Hoping for seedset now to renew the stock!




Ranunculus kuepferi.

Like many white Ranunculus species, it enjoys a cool rootrun.
NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #303 on: May 25, 2017, 09:13:13 PM »
UPDATE 1, MAY 2017




Primula maximowiczii

Second year flowering, but still need to improve the cultivation, as the plant stay rather small and not that productive.




Polemonium confertum

One of the gem of the genera with its thight rounded flowerheads. And for its foliage too.




Mertensia alpina

Also from western north America. A delightful small species, with stems trailing directly on soil and carrying groups of pure blue flowers turning more violet as they age.

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I won't say too much now, but it might be I could have one or two very exciting things to report, possibly already in the next update. At least plants I have quite long been expecting that they would flower one day. So let's cross the fingers there won't be any hungry slug, rodent, hare, or any meteorological extrem to ruin that!

NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

Leucogenes

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #304 on: May 25, 2017, 10:14:33 PM »
What a great update ... Philippe. Beautiful plants, brilliantly photographed and a beautiful text. Thanks a lot ... we are looking forward to the next update.

Thomas

Leucogenes

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #305 on: May 26, 2017, 06:29:51 AM »
... This polemonium confertum is particularly beautiful. The shape of the foliage is particularly great.

David Nicholson

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #306 on: May 26, 2017, 09:55:02 AM »
I very much enjoyed your report as usual Philippe . I liked your information boards.
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Leucogenes

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #307 on: May 26, 2017, 10:08:24 AM »
You probably have so many visitors in your garden ... David. ;D ;D
?

astragalus

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #308 on: May 26, 2017, 11:52:06 AM »
You have an inspiring garden of beautiful plants beautifully grown
Steep, rocky and cold in the
Hudson River Valley in New York State

Maggi Young

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #309 on: May 26, 2017, 12:28:18 PM »
Difficult weather indeed, Philippe - certainly a challenge for the gardeners.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #310 on: May 26, 2017, 04:23:53 PM »
Difficult weather indeed, Philippe - certainly a challenge for the gardeners.

Even more for the plants themselves!
Already have to put shade on some asiatic plants in the bedrock to avoid sun scortching. And it's only late May...
NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

David Nicholson

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #311 on: May 26, 2017, 06:59:45 PM »
You probably have so many visitors in your garden ... David. ;D ;D
?

Not many people Thomas but I've loads of ants ;D
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Gabriela

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #312 on: May 26, 2017, 11:17:48 PM »
It is great to read the first update of the season Philippe and see your well captured pictures!
That must have been hard to find so many losses in the propagation, so I hope the season will continue on a better 'note'. And already looking fwd to the next report of course :)
Gabriela
Ontario, zone 5
http://botanicallyinclined.org/

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #313 on: May 04, 2018, 06:05:20 PM »
SEASON 2018, MAY

As for the weather recently, some warm news from the garden.
It's been under snow since early november and stayed so untill mid-april. Thus a very good winter this year! The unusual high temperatures last month really speeded up snowmelt, only a few patches and piles of snow are left now.
Rockbeds are almost all totally snowfree and can appreciate the ongoing warm weather, which is going to lead to a rapid plant growth.

I'll personnaly only really begin the work there from mid may on, but brought some things/packages recently. Of course I profited from this short visit to take a general look to both plants and garden.

I am especially very delighted to see that Primula agleniana is still going on:



Well here in its winter resting bud habit, but for the moment healthy anyway.
It's been sowned in 2012, only germinated in 2015, pricked out 2016, and had the 2017 season to build up quite rapidly!
As you see, it is cultivated in pot, not in the rockbed where conditions would probably not suit it at all. I might also rather say it is such a beautiful plant that I don't want to let it on its own in the rockbed for the moment. As long as it is happy in pot, everything's ok.
It grows therefore in a shady place of the propagation area, at the bottom of a 2m high big granite boulders wall, not far from the stream, where sun only shines a few hour per day during high summer. Snow tends to last much longer there than anywhere else because of the exposition ( facing full north under the granite wall), which provides best chances for a quiet, long and cosy winter rest period.
PErhaps one of the plants in the pot will give a first flowering this spring. This will be the occasion to see if the plant is also really P.agleniana !

Also in the propagation area, and also in pot, Olsynium douglasii:



A plant that I found not so easy to please so far.

Let's see later for more news and/or pictures!
NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

Philippe

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Re: Haut Chitelet Alpine Garden (France)
« Reply #314 on: May 27, 2018, 10:26:20 AM »
SEASON 2018, MAY

The season 2018 really begins now in the garden, with the first shoots of late to very late plants. Already many flowers in some parts of the rockbeds.

We had a wonderful winter, with continuous thick snowcover from early November untill early/mid-April, even late April in the most protected parts of the garden. The vegetation growth pattern is very interesting this year: as said the deep snowcover melted during April, and at the same time we had one of the warmest April month ever recorded in north eastern France. This means that the rockbed that were already snow free in early April could "profit" from this very mild April, whereas the warmth could only accelerate the snowmelt in the other parts of the garden where snow was still laying on the ground, and the plants there couldn't get so much of the permanent high temperatures.

The growth differences still persist as May was an average month then : trees and bushes are now in huge advance ( it was already almost totally green by late April, Laburnum alpinum will flower very soon with 3/4 weeks advance), the upper parts of the rockbeds also show up to 3 weeks advance. All the rest that was largely protected from the April warmth by the snow is in the average growth timing.

Two pics of the surroundings of the garden to begin this update, illustrating this:



A 2 meter high snow patch still present whereas the areas jut above it are probably totally snowfree since 2 months now. This will naturally lead to huge vegetation delay, and Anemone scherfelli for example will form its seeds when it will only emerge out of the soil 15meters away!

This is nothing more than what happens normaly in higher mountains every spring/summer, but we are here only at 1200/1300m height and it's very characteristic of the Vosges amongst the other mountains at similar height in France. Having an alpine garden is such even more contrasted areas would really be interesting, in regard to flowering time of the different plants!

A view of some streamlet strongly fed by snowmelt.



Back into the garden.



Most of the different Pulsatilla/Anemone were already full flowering by early May this year. This is the usual but still beautiful Anemone halleri ssp.styriaca from the eastern Alps.



Phyllodoce caerulea in ther arctic regions rockbed.



And Primula auriculata from the Caucasus
NE-France,Haut-Chitelet alpine garden,1200 m.asl
Rather cool/wet summer,reliable 4/5 months winter snow cover
Annual precip:200/250cm,3.5C mean annual temp.

 


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