Himalaja, Sikkim

Najvišje gorstvo sveta je tudi eno botanično najbolj zanimivih območij. Ljubezen do rastlin, spoznavanja njihovega naravnega domovanja in iskanje najrazličnejših vzorcev, ki mi pomenijo navdih za oblikovanje zasaditev po vrtovih me je pripeljala v Sikkim. Pridružil sem se majhni belgijski skupini in tudi pod pokroviteljstvom International Dendrological Society opravil 3-tedensko potovanje predvsem po območjih Zahodnega in Severnega Sikkima.


This peninsula has one of the wettest climates in Europe, while the North Atlantic Drift provides for very mild temperatures, with small differences between winter and summer.  The slightly elevated region of Snowdonia stands out because of the presence of certain relics of pre-glacial flora.  Even though Wales does not seem to differ much geographically from other parts of United Kingdom, it does offer certain plant species that other parts don’t. Spotted rock-rose (Tuberaria gutata) with yellow petals and yellow whitlow-grass (Draba aizoides) are two such examples.

Anglesey, where most of the photos below were taken, is the largest island of Wales. The plant diversity has decreased significantly because of intensive farming, but there are several important wetland areas, many of them protected. The coastal area boasts a greater plant diversity, offering a home predominately to Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima), Sea Champion (Silene maritima), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Common Birdsfoot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), and awns, Erica spp. Dunes, on the other hand, feature a completely different flora (Viola curtisii,  Euphorbia paralias, Phleum arenarium), and so do the wetter areas and moors (Salix repens, Parnassia palustris, Dactylorhiza purpurella, Pinguicula vulgaris).


Croatia is a very interesting country.  Even though it is mostly known for its magnificent coastline, encompassing Istria and Dalmatia, there are exceptional botanical areas hiding in the hinterland regions; among them the mountains Biokovo and Velebit certainly stand out.  Moving further east from the coastline, the climate becomes more and more continental.  There are three main geographical regions, namely the Mediterranean Region with numerous islands and dramatic coastal landscape of the Adrian Sea, the Dinaric Mountains and the Pannonian Plain.  Given this geographic diversity, the country offers a wonderful basis for vast plant diversity, while botany enthusiasts might also be very interested in numerous local endemic species such as Degenia (Degenia velebitica), Silvery Dwarf Harebell (Edraianthus pumilio) and Dubrovnik Knapweed (Centaurea ragusina).


Surely, Belgium is one of those European countries primarily known for its gardens and parks, and not so much for its botanical riches, yet there, too, one can actually find very interesting spots for botanical excursions.  With oceanic climate, the majority of Belgian territory consists of lowland areas, while only the Ardennes reach up to an altitude of 694 m above sea level. It is the latter, highest region, lying in the south of the country, that boasts the greatest botanical diversity.  In addition to beech and oak forests, there are also areas with dry meadows and pastures positively teeming with various species of perennials.  Habitats like these can be found in the municipality of Viroinval, known also for numerous wild orchid species.
Ravaged by intensive farming, the north of the country is a different story. This is why greater plant diversity can only be observed in nature reserves, in some coastal areas, and in hedges delineating agricultural areas.  Due to wetlands and other types of soil, the range of plants in this part of the country tends to be different, featuring mostly acidophilous and sometimes typical moorland plants.  Even though the acidic soil does not exactly support plant diversity, it nevertheless creates a unique landscape with plenty of motifs for photography and garden design enthusiasts.

Did you know that there is only one endemic complex plant species growing in Belgium? It is called Houseleek (Sempervivum funckii var. aqualiense).