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The Dolomites in mid-June 2023

July 19, 2023
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Mount Sassongher

Mount Sassongher

Back to the Mountains

Last year, my wife Helen and I spent two weeks at the end of June in the Dolomites on a walking holiday, but focusing on the flowers.  We were based in Badia, but explored meadows around Corvara, south to Arabba, and east to the Falzarego Pass.  Our enjoyment and discoveries were enhanced enormously by the presence of a fellow alpine ‘enthusiast’, David Charlton.  This trip was documented here on this diary.

Spring 2023 has been very busy for us, for a lot of reasons, and we came to the conclusion that the only way we would get to the mountains at all was to book the exact same holiday, for the same period.  Sadly, this year David was not with us.  This time we chose to be based in Corvara, and thus reduced the number of buses we had to catch up and down the valley.


The weather in the Alps this spring has been cold, but above all very damp.  The best snow in Corvara was at the end of April, after the skiing season had finished.  Since then, constant rain and cold temperatures had prevailed.  The rain was much needed after last year’s drought, but we worried about the prospects for our holiday, and both purchased a second waterproof coat, in case of days of persistent rain.  In the event we need not have worried.  It was not always warm, but we only lost a couple of hours to rain in the whole of the fortnight.  Now we are back home it seems to be on the warm side there, even in the mountains, so our trip fell just right.

Purpose of the Articles

This year, because of the cold, damp spring, the flowering season was 2-3 weeks later than 2022.  As a result we saw many flowers which would have been out towards the end of May last year, and which had gone over by our trip.  I would like to share these with you.

Plant Identification

These diary entries aim to provide a record of what we saw.  As last year, I have spent considerable time and effort since the trip, trying to name correctly the plants I photographed; books and websites did not always yield a definitive answer.  As well as the many books and obvious websites (the AGS Encyclopaedia), I have found the following useful:

  • the checklist of Italian flora here.
  • the flowers of the French Alps here (the plants are often the same).

A number of experts both within and outside the society have given generously of their time and expertise to help me. My thanks to them, and to everyone who helped make this holiday so enjoyable.

And still, grey areas remain.  It remains intriguing to me that the flora of such a familiar and well-documented region can throw up so many puzzles.  I am sure that many mistakes and confusions also remain (my own fault – please forgive me), and I welcome any feedback to discuss or correct these (my email address is below).


Our daily trips were as follows:

I hope you enjoy this adventure as much as we did.

Image of Jon Evans Jon Evans

Jon lives and gardens on the north side of the Hogsback on the border between Hampshire and Surrey, on a heavy clay soil. He is a long standing member of the AGS and has been treasurer of the local group in Woking for many years. Jon is interested in bulbs of all sorts, particularly those from South Africa, and is progressing slowly towards his Gold Medal at shows, at the rate of roughly one first per year.

However, he is best known within the AGS as an enthusiastic amateur photographer. For about 10 years he was responsible for organising the artistic and photographic section of the AGS shows around the country, and also for organising the show photography. During this period, he set up and ran the AGS Digital Image Library. He still visits many shows each year to catalogue the extraordinary achievements of the exhibitors, and is actively involved in other plant photography, both in gardens both public and private, and on outings to view and photograph wild flowers in the UK.

If you have any comments or queries for Jon, you can contact him direct at