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Plants in the Wild: Mount Washington, NH

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Started by: Caroline Seymour

Alpine garden - how and when?

Go to latest contribution by Caroline Seymour, 26 August 2013, 14:58. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Caroline Seymour 18 May 2013, 11:02top / bottom of page
Should I make a detour to Mount Washington in June?

I shall be in New England in June and have a few days between the Berkshires and Bar Harbor, 12th and 15th, which my daughter would prefer to spend at the coast!

I have discovered that it is prime time to visit the alpine flora on Mount Washington. Can anyone tell me, please, is this the only location in the region? How difficult is it to get up there and approximately how long should one allow?

I have read that it is 3 to 5 miles from parking - is this each way or round trip? Pictures on the web show a clear path so I'm assuming it is well visited. Is it worth it?

Contribution from Caroline Seymour 26 August 2013, 14:58top / bottom of page
Pink Lady's Slipper Orchids

I did not go to Mount Washington. When I was in the area the temperature at the summit had barely crept above freezing and it was covered in cloud, so no view. If you are considering visiting the 'alpine garden' on Mount Washington, there is an excellent website to check conditions on the summit:

www.mountwashington.org/weather/forecast.php

People who have driven up to the summit report that it is scary. There is a hiker shuttle:

www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/guided-tours/hiker-shuttle

To assuage my disappointment, I was 'allowed' to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where I was handsomely compensated by a healthy population of Cypripedium acaule, the Pink lady's Slipper orchid. The grounds are extensive and the orchids were growing everywhere. Since 1998 they have conducted a survey, although I could only find a 2011 report at:

www.mainegardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Final-report-2011-Lady-slippers-SP.pdf

The gardens were nice too, comprising largely mixed woodland, with waterside walk, flower borders, ponds, sculptures, kids area, restaurant, etc.

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchids


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