The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pumpelly Ridge on Mount Monadnock

I hiked the Dublin Trail to the summit of Mount Monadnock (3159 ft.) with a gardening friend today. Mount Monadnock, also known as Grand Monadnock, is reputedly the second most frequently climbed mountain in the world. It has commanding views, even Mount Washington can be seen on clear days. Today, it was about 20 degrees with gusty winds to about 30 mph or more. This is a view of the Pumpelly Ridge looking toward Dublin, NH and beyond.

As I hike, I like to observe plant associations. There is always something to learn, even in winter. I can see how the trees shift from deciduous to conifers as I ascend the trail. Moose maple, Acer pensylvanicum, with their striated bark, and the pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, are common near the trailhead. There are also many beech, Fagus grandifolia, and sugar maple trees, Acer saccharinum. Hobblebush viburnums, Viburnum alnifolium, are common in the moist lowlands. The prominent evergreens are white pines, Pinus strobus, hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, and red spruce, Picea rubens.
Last fall, I collected seeds of the hobblebush viburnum on the Spellman Trail. I had spied some individuals with a particularly vibrant claret foliage last year. When I returned in October, I found the population and collected seeds that I hope will one day flourish in my woodland garden. I also collected seeds of the red elder, Sambucus pubens, on Pack Monadnock. Red elders are very shade tolerant and have handsome red drupe that are favored by birds in June.

I also have planted several analogous Asian trees in the Woodland garden that mimic their American relatives. I bought a rare Asian striped bark maple, Acer pectinatum ssp. forrestii, at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT. The catalogue states that it "exhibits white-striped branches that turn maroon-red in winter. Bright butter-yellow fall color adds seasonal interest." In their trials, they found it to be "more tolerant of adverse conditions than other striped maples." I planted a European beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Tortuosa'. I first saw a 25 year old specimen at Kris Fenderson's garden in Acworth, NH. This beech will grow to about 10-15 feet tall and has a uniquely twisted trunk and branches. I also planted a Cornus controversa 'Variegata' in the wild garden. The giant dogwood hails from Japan and is larger than the pagoda dogwood. It has creamy variegated leaves that grow on tiered branches. My intention is that all these trees will feel at home in my New Hampshire garden but create a slightly more refined picture.

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