Exotics (Rock Gardens of North America, the Iberian Peninsula and Eurasia)
Some of the plants in the North American Rock Gardens resemble those we are familiar with. Like the snapdragons, for example, or the Dryas drummundii, very like the white dryad native to the Alps, but with flowers of a different color. This rock garden also contains a very special kind of plant, the Penstemon, or beardtongue. In the wild it blankets the ground of the North American mountain chains: here you can see its long, leafy stems, covered with flowers of various colors.
The flora of the Iberian Peninsula is quite varied: in fact, different areas of the region have widely divergent climates, and consequently different vegetation. In some areas, lush forests are home to deciduous species like durmast, linden, chestnut, elm and maple, but in other places there are only small shrubs, heather, ferns and broom, and a handful of other plants capable of eking out a living in harsh, arid conditions. Like Eryngium bourgatii, found mostly in the Pyrenees, which you can admire in this rock garden. It is a member of the Apiaceae family, and closely resembles a plant we are familiar with, the Queen of the Alps (Eryngium alpinum). From July to October its flowers tinge the rock garden with an unusual shade of blue, circled by a crown of spiny leaves: in ancient Greek, erungion means hedgehog, and perhaps that’s where the genus got its name.
In the Eurasian Rock Gardens you’ll find edelweiss very similar to those in our Alps, but they come from the Himalayas, like another very unusual plant, Potentilla nepalensis, also a native of Nepal. It’s one of the few plants in the Gardens with red flowers.