Lime Rock Garden

Here we find a further plot, created in the thirties. It consists of lime rock from the other lime rock side of the valley, which was laboriously collected and transferred to the valley station and brought here via cable car. Due to their high ph-value and the substantially faster water drainage some plants have chosen this rock and adapted to this special habitat. Whilst lime-loving plants are not competitive on acid grounds, acid loving species can occur in lime regions with a sufficiently thick humus layer. By a substantial use of lime rubble (and concrete) when building the steps, lime-seeking plants are grown in the respective places.

The Dwarf Pine (Pinus mugo) can settle on patchy dry, stony silicate slopes, but far more conspicuous is the frequently extensive, some square kilometres in size, and impenetrable brushwood so typical of the lime Alps. Depending on its location, this two needled pine will grow to 3, 50 metres and can even grow on vertical cliffs.
The same applies to the Dwarf Juniper (Juniperus communis subsp.alpina) which, in its alpine dwarf form on lime, occurs in substantially more impressive colonies. The low-lying dwarf bush grows to a height of 60cm and is distinguished from the Common Juniper by its shorter needles. The berries of both species are used as a spice and to distil schnapps (gin). The Dwarf Juniper ranges from Europe to Siberia and Northern America.
Only in the western Alps and there on lime, do we often find the Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pinus uncinata) that replaces the Arolla Pine. This Mountain Pine grows to 20m and inhabits hot, dry, and stony mountain slopes up to 2400m. Particularly significant is their resistance to scree submersion: one finds them on scree slopes where the trunk is covered by metres of scree.

Lime Rock GardenLeaving the lime group the path leads across an elongated ditch back to the foot of the steps. This is where a lot of snow is swept in winter. So that even at the end of June, parts of the ditch are snow- covered. Although we find more extensive colonies of the Dwarf Snowbell (Soldanella pusilla), a primrose plant, here in high summer they are overgrown and replaced by many of the tall forbs mentioned. The delicate Ice Snowbell, as it is also called, belongs to the most impressive alpine flowers, because it grows through the snow of long snow-covered locations. This is not so much caused by the heat created by breathing than the absorption of solar heat through the red violet buds and flower stems (peduncles). This plant that grows to 10 cm has exclusively basilar, rounded, pedunculated leaves. The red violet, bell-shaped flower is split down to a quarter of its length. Growing on humus, lime-free, ground saturated with snow water and being flowerless, it is hard to find. The species Soldanella can be traced back to the tertiary period. Seven hard to distinguish species inhabit the lime regions.

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