Wednesday 15 May 2013

Highlights of Turkey

I have just returned from an interesting trip in Turkey and it has been a real privilege to be able to get a taste of such a rich country, in people, history and of course flora. Our adventures took us from Istanbul, to Yalova (by boat) and from there by car around the mountain ranges of Uludağ and through varied landscapes, and from rural peasant villages to the cities of İnegöl & Bursa. In Uludağ itself there are thirty endemic species of which three are globally threatened. It also includes the highest peak in the country. Here are photos of some of the highlights:

High in the mountains of Uludağ there was plenty of Crocus biflorus ssp. pulchricolor,
there were also abundances of Scilla bythinica, Viola suavis, Muscari and Rumex olympicus
(Pboto courtesy of Graeme Walker)

Rachael one of my fellow gardener/ botanists amongst low lying shrubs of Juniper communis which harboured a multitude of plants underneath. The woods were comprised of trees like Pinus nigra & Fagus orientalis. Unfortunately this diversely rich & unique site is encroached upon & threatened by the ski resort close by,
which brings with it a sluice of rubbish & badly built buildings. 

This impressive ladybird spider (Eresus sp) came out on defense as we came close by. Some
of the other insects we saw was a beautiful yellow & black swallowtail butterfly and a
scarab beetle (Scarabaeus sacer) actually rolling a ball of dung. 
Some of our best sightings were on the roadside.

Wild Centaurea montana near grazed land. 

Some areas were like readymade gardens, we saw sites with perfect clumps of white & purple Cistus, Lavandula stoechas, amazing array of grasses like Briza maxima and Oryzopsis. This slope was mainly made up of poppies and Chrysanthemum segetum.

One of the biggest type of plants that we saw were different kinds of Lathryrus and similar plants in the Fabaceae family, some inconspicuous & some incredibly showy. We even saw
a two tone one that was like Lathryrus odoratus but without a scent. 

We found an amazing amount of individual specimens:

An Iris that we think might be Iris danfordiae native to Turkey. 

We found different kinds of wild orchids all along the way, this one was even just outside a WC of a roadside cafe that was in a beautiful dip of a mountain. (Photo courtesy of Graeme Walker)

One of my favourite random roadside stops was one the one that was the most diverse (it was also one of the rockiest and of thin soil), filled with tall self sowing bright magenta Antirrhinum, Campanula, Salvia clarea, Scabious and many plants that we couldn't name but documented and admired, and the one that got us all excited and determined us to stop in the first place - the wonderfully tall, silvery and extra fluffy Verbascum bombyciferum, one part of the Dixter perennial cultivar - Christo's Yellow Lightning, just starting to flower.

Yannick & Graeme next to Verbascum bombyciferum


  1. Hi Maggie,
    It was great to meet you at Great Dixter briefly on Tuesday. I have been enjoying your blog and look forward to more posts as the season progresses! GD looked amazing!

    1. Hi Michael,
      It was nice to meet you too. Thanks for the encouragement. It's always great to get an opportunity to meet the person behind the blog. I loved that you went to a specific Epimedium nursery to get a real jist of them. That is applied gardening! Glad you enjoyed your trip.


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