Spring Alpines of the Georgian Caucasus Mountains

Thu, 2020-04-02 13:24 -- gsparrow
2 Apr
Todd Boland

AS AN AVID TRAVELER and lover of alpine flowers, there are many high-elevation places in the world on my bucket list.  One mountain range I have encountered time and time again in botanical literature has been the Caucasus Mountains. Many common perennial border plants I grow in my own garden hail from these mountains; Geranium psilostemon, Stachys grandiflora, Campanula latifolia, and Centaurea macrocephala just to name a few.  Some of my garden bulbs, such as Puschkinia scilloides and Scilla siberica and alpines such as Gentiana cruciata and Sedum spurium, also originate from this region. As a horticulturist and botanist, I am equally interested in both growing plants in the garden as well as observing them in the wild.  With so many of my garden plants being native to the Caucasus, I decided it was a region that warranted a visit. The clincher was reading The Caucasus and its Flowers by Vojtěch Holubec and Pavel Křivka, names familiar to many members of NARGS. Having read the book front to back, and with all the wonderful photos, I knew I had to see the Caucasus for myself. This desire came to fruition in May 2019 when I signed up to participate in the Greentours trip to Georgia. The tour spent 12 days in Georgia, visiting both the Greater (4 days) and Lesser Caucasus (2 days) as well as lowlands between the two ranges.

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