Mt. Washington's Alpines

prblysolidSeptember 19, 2010


My name is Luke and this is my first post. I recently hiked Mt. Washington, for those who are fermiliar with its trails, and I was inspired by the dense native alpines. Near the peak, it seemed there were miles upon miles of sprawling dense moss growth and alpines of every variety, all competing for space between large rocks. This experience got me interested in starting my own rock garden, to try to emulate what I saw there. I was tempted to even try to bring some specimens with me, but then I realized that it was illigal to disturb wildlife above the treeline. Has anyone had a similar experience they would like to share, or even some possible species of plants I might have seen, so that I can plant them in my own garden?

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To give you an idea of the landscape I was referencing, here is this awesome blog of a man who works for the AMC club and maintains the mountain's trails.

Here is a link that might be useful: White Mountain Sojourn

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Welcome! Don't feel bad if not too many people respond to your post. This forum is quite slow; there aren't very many people that visit the alpines forum. I am always checking it, waiting for any signs of life, and I am thrilled that we have a new person, you!

While I am not familiar with Mt. Washington (or even which Mt. Washington in which state, though I see you are from Massachusetts), I have had similar experiences on other mountains and hikes near where I live, in Washington state.

Congratulations on convincing yourself not to take wild plants from the habitat. I have been very tempted as well, but I too realized it is illegal and also bad for the environment.

I am very addicted to alpines and rock gardening. I keep expanding my rock garden, adding more rocks and plants- it is easy to get carried away and become obsessed with obtaining rare specimens.

I recommend researching the internet to find nurseries that specialize in rare or native alpine plants. One that I recommend is linked below. If you want to order from them, email them first to ask on availability of specific plants as sometimes their website may not be up to date on what is in stock.

You may also research the internet for websites that document what species are native to the mountain you hiked, and learn what kind of conditions they prefer. This will assist you in creating the right environment in your rock garden so they will thrive.

Another website that is good is, the North American Rock Garden Society. Although they charge for membership and some website features, you can still search the site and see info and pictures for free. There are some other rock garden societies and websites, but in my opinion not enough. I like to use Google and Yahoo to search for rock gardens and alpine plant pictures. You can get a lot of nice ideas and see what you like and don't like as far as "rock-scaping". And when you click on the images it will take you to the site the image is on and sometimes the website will be a good one to bookmark and explore.

For my rock garden I was fortunate to have a lot of native rocks all over my backyard, so I just dug them up and carried them to the front yard.

I am very inspired by the hikes I have done. The sub-alpine and alpine regions are extremely beautiful and exciting to explore. It is interesting how there are mini climates within different areas, such as a rock crevice which may have moss and ferns, and just above it might be some plants that like it dry and sunny. Or a marsh with aquatic plants, and right around the corner an outcropping with dwarf conifers.

Although the pictures are not recent and my garden looks better now than what is in these, here are some pics of it:

Well I have probably written more than you want to read, so I will stop there. I do hope you return to the forum and keep posting, possibly to update us on your rock gardening endeavors. I am always excited to talk to other people about this topic and hope that more people get interested. I wish this forum would pick up more. You will find a few posts here by me. I hope to get some recent photos of my garden soon and post them up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:14AM
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Not in keeping with what your post is about but more about Mount Washington.
I had the very nice pleasure of vacationing in the shade of Mt New "The Weirs" on Lake Winnipesaukee. Reminded me of a great Canadian resort area Wasaga Beach, on Georgian Bay, Ontario.
(Wasaga Beach by the way, has "The World's Longest fresh-water beach and is a Provincial Park)
Of course, we travelled up the mountain by car....there's also a tramway if I remember correctly) and the stated on a rock, let's you see six U.S. States and two Canadian Provinces.
That was many years ago.....but we have fond memories of the great time we had. Met a number from Massachesetts who couldn't take the cold Atlantic and favored the more friendly Lake temperatures.
We went from there to North Hampton Beach--the first time I had seen the ocean and also got my first impression of what the tides do...they catch up to tired feet when lounging on your stomach too close to the water. It was certainly cooler than I'd been used to....lake Ontario can be cold, but the Atlantic, in New Hampshire.....
I swam in it anyway---you don't go such distances from home and not take in the country. Ate my first crab and other ocean delicacies at local restaurants there.

Some day maybe........some day!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 1:02PM
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I've given you a linked page with photos of several alpine plants, all labeled, from the Mt. Washington Observatory below this message, and then several websites where there are a few images each to get you started. I'm not sure how many of these are available commercially. The North American Rock Garden Society has a seed exchange (for members, I think) that you might want to check out.

These pages have a few:

And here is a blog about the area. The one page I visited
had several nicely labeled plant photos, and if you scroll down the right side there is a bibliography of books as well as links to other pages within the blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mt. Washington Observatory Alpine Flowers Photo Gallery

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 2:39PM
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