Northumberland Diary Discussion: 07 July 2015
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The South-West Alps. Entry 300.Go to latest contribution by John Good, 09 July 2015, 21:54. Go to bottom of this page.
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John - I really enjoyed following that outing and that wonderful mountain landscape. I know a lot about plants but not in the direct way of seeing them extensively in natural landscapes and it brings so much more into focus. Your mention of visiting the Pyrenees as well reminded me that a friend, Sarah Morgan, (a landscape designer and lecturer at Hadlow College and the University of Greenwich, trained originally at Wye) is very interested in learning more about the Pyrenean alpine flora. She has a house in the Pyrenees and has travelled there for over 15 years and is interested in the relationship between the plants and landscape and the local people, but doesn't have such a strong botanical knowledge of the plants. She has just joined the AGS and hopes, if she can find funding and support and advice, to study the region more rigorously for a PhD. I said I would put her in touch with you and members of the AGS who have an in depth knowledge of the region. I'm not sure Greenwich has been very supportive in considering her proposal but she obviously has a very strong and deep interest in the region. (Some of the landscape work she is doing in London is using plants in 'Green Roofs' - eg: in Tower Hamlets - so closely linked to improving deprived areas in the city, and many alpines from drier places are potentially suitable in such plantings). I have given her your address - this is from the 1997 AGS list that I have (hope its right! - data protection really isn't so helpful) and she may contact you if she is able to find support for her proposal.
As a lily lover I was bowled over by your wonderful piccies, I have only seen L. pomponium flowering in the wild once, in the Grand Canyon du Verdun many years ago. I determined immediately to try and grow it and did so from seed several times, but never managed to keep it beyond its first flowering, but that happens with a lot of lilies for me.
Dianthus pavonius is easy enough to grow here and I have several forms, all raised from wild collected seed, in troughs and a raised bed, but none of them flowers very freely, or at least not all over the cushion; here is a photo to show what I mean. The nicest plants I ever saw of this in the wild were growing on the flat among boulders near the Col de Galibier, very short-stemmed and with uniformly cream-coloured reverse sides to the bright pink petals. I believe it is supposed to be a calcifuge but I have no personal evidence for this.