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A Midland Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: 01 September 2011 by Diane Clement

Diary Entry No 49 - A week in the Engadine Part 4

Day 6 - Val Minor

We started with a bus from Pontresina up the Bernina valley to Lagalp at 2107m.  We then walked up Val Minor via Lej Minor at 2361m and on to the Bernina Hospice at 2328m.  It was quite a long walk, but well worth it for the flowers.  We caught the bus back to Pontresina for a well-earned rest.

The train along the Bernina valley

Day 6 - Val Minor

The walk started round by walking up the Val Minor, between the Piz Lagalp and the Piz Minor.  We saw large patches of Gypsophila repens growing on stony ground


Sempervivum montanum

A plant growing in abundance in this area was Dianthus superbus -  not an easy plant to photograph as it blows in the slightest breeze.  I tried to get some shots from low down with the mountains behind

We walked up the valley, from our starting point 2101m at Lagalb, gradually up to the lake at 2361m.  As we reached higher altitudes, the terrain changed and became more rocky.  We rounded a corner into a valley sheltered from the sun and saw a patch of snow remaining

Silene acaulis in flower on the slope

Of course, it is always worth exploring round a patch of snow and we were rewarded by

Soldanella pusilla                                                                              Gentiana acaulis


So onto the area of scree at the highest point. 

Geum reptans with its characteristic red runners, scrambling over the rocks

Geum reptans showing leaf shape.

Close by, we found its near relative, Geum montanum, with a rather different leaf shape and no runners

The habitat was rather more large boulders than scree, here with Myosotis alpestris growing in the gaps

And Silene acaulis forming large mats

And here, both together, competing for space

Phyteuma hemisphaericum

Linaria alpina

An unidentified fern - can anyone assist with a name?

And today's best plant was Androsace alpina especially as I had never seen it before in the wild

And now going round the end of Val Minor, we had a glimpse down into Italy

And then on and back down towards the Bernina Pass.

Saxifraga stellaris clearly likes its feet in the water

So back down to the Bernina pass to catch our bus.  A very enjoyable area, and an area we will certainly return to.

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