Friday, December 4, 2015

Icelandic treasure trove

The Rock Garden at the Reykjavik Botanic Garden
I was always curious what might actually be persuaded to grow in Iceland, since I've known the climate is essentially alpine: I had a wonderful 18 hour visit this past summer on June 27 en route to Copenhagen at the start of my Chanticleer Scholarship study trip to Greece and Turkey.

And I knew there was a botanic garden, so I made a beeline there. The rock garden held pride of place near the main entrance: there were many fine gardens there--all meticulously weeded, and wonderfully planted to unusual plants as well as the Standard Fare of European botanic gardens. This garden is well worth a visit during the growing season: I'd love to go back in May to see the Adonis (they have a fabulous collection of species) in full bloom as well as early alpines, and later in the summer as well...below is just a smattering of the hundreds of superb alpines in bloom in late June. I wish I could show them all! Most were well labeled and all were superbly grown.

The entrance sign board...

Closer detail of the map...pretty straight forward! Now on to the "Steinhaed"..
Anemone magellanica
Usually considered a variant of the circumboreal A. multifida any more...we've grown a much larger flowered plant under this name. This could be from Colorado!

Aquilegia aff alpina
One of the few whose label I couldn't find--a great colony of blue columbines!

Aquilegia flabellata f. alba
And a superbly situated specimen of this east Asian classic...

Brimeura amethystina
This clump made my poor specimens at home look pretty measly by comparison.

Arenaria purpurascens
There were huge mats of this in several places--best I've seen at any garden.

Delphinium ramosum
Doesn't quite match up to what I know of this species--but spectacular nonetheless...

Dodecatheon integrifolium
I believe this may be the same as P. pulchellum (pauciflorum/radicatum etc.)
Doronicum clusii
One doesn't often see this daisy in American gardens--a lovely one.

Geranium cinereum
A fine form of this classic geranium.

Geranium farreri
I've grown this, but not like THIS!

Iris reichenbachii
Another classic--a lovely form well grown. Look at all the buds--that will bloom all the way through July! For us it's April and early May.

Lewisia pygmaea
Abundant in the high Rockies--these look just as happy in Iceland.

Oxalis enneaphylla
A spectacular specimen of a choice plant rarely seen in the States.

Paederota lutea
I've grown this too...but this made me sick with envy. Check out the next frame too...

Paederota lutea

Potentilla stenophylla
A platn new to me: and a showy one. I've seen a similar plant from Bhutan--so this is likely Himalayan.

Pulsatilla violacea
I would love to have a pasqueflower with this many flowers!

Ranunculus aconitifolius
Part of an enormous planting of this old fashioned perennial one rarely sees nowadays.

Ranunculus traunfelneri
A new one for me: a gorgeous buttercup!

Ranunculus sartorianus
Another buttercup I've not heard of hitherto...

Saxifraga taygetea

Does not look like the S. taygetea I've grown for years: I'm curious which is correct! This is more like S. rotundifolia in my experience. I'm so plant focused I forgot to get a release signed by the fellow with the pack in the back who unintentionally photobombed this picture. I suppose he's wandering around the planet, oblivious that his soul was stolen as a backdrop to a misnamed plant.

Veronica schmidtiana
A delightful tuft of this East Asian Veronica...

Paeonia anomala, elder and tulips

There are wonderful vegetable, woodland and perennial gardens as well--but this vignette shall suffice for now: Amazing how everything is in bloom at once--with peonies and tulips making it into midsummer! Iceland is definitely worth the visit! Next time, Akureyri where there is another ambitious botanic garden!


  1. Thankyou for sharing. Delightfull

  2. Must remember to pop in here more often to see your lovely photos. Did you partake of the national dish? Best, M

  3. Not quite sure what the National Dish is, but that term does generate a bit of trepidation (something along the lines of Haggis I fear?). I did have a lavish dinner at what was probably their most expensive restaurant featuring Puffin along with a wealth of seafood and more: The sort of "gourmet" excess with bland tidbits on plates with tiny portions and lavish Jackson Pollock swirlings of sauces and endless courses (you could have virtually the same mean all over the world for a few hundred bucks). Would have preferred Haggis.


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