Mosaic Monday: An Alpine Garden

Today, some collages of the alpine garden at The Fells in Newbury, New Hampshire, created by Clarence Hay and hired stonemasons starting in 1929 on the south-facing hillside toward the lake. Among lichen-specked rocks they planted hundreds of alpine plants — some sited along several narrow paths and some their own small islands; at the foot of the hillside is a brook, a lily pool, and a wee bog garden. A 2009 magazine article mentioned that the alpine garden contains 600 species and cultivars of rock garden and alpine plants. I don’t know most of them but I appreciate the colours, textures, long blooms, interesting foliage of these plants throughout the year, and the strategic and serendipitous combinations of the plants in relationship to each other. I realised writing this blog post that I need to a. visit the alpine garden more in March and April and b. observe the (often small or insignificant) alpine flowers more closely.


The view looking downhill to the alpine garden and beyond to Lake Sunapee in the distance.


[Photos taken in June 2015 & 2019; July 2015, 2018, and 2019; and October 2017.]

A closer view of the bottom middle photo, mid-July 2015:


And a closer view of the bottom left photo, 21 Oct. 2017:



The view looking upward from the alpine garden toward the house.


[Photos taken in Feb. 2015; May 2016; June 2016; July 2016, 2019; August 2015; November 2019.]

A closer view of the top middle photo, mid-Aug. 2015:



Some larger areas within the alpine garden.


[Photos taken May 2016; June 2015; July 2016; Sept. 2019; Oct. 2017; Nov. 2016.]

A closer view of the top left and bottom right photos, both early June 2015:



The pool, bog garden, and nearby.


Photos taken Feb. 2015; June 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018; July 2016; August 2014; Oct. 2017; Nov. 2015.

A closer view of the waterlily, 21 Oct. 2017:


And another view (not in the collage) of the bog and pitcher plants, June 2016:



Alpine & rock garden plants: Spring (April to June):


Top row: Pasque flower (Pulsatilla); twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla); beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis syn. Linnea amabilis); blue spruce.

Middle row: Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum) and geraniums; poppy (a variety of Papaver orientale I think); lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and catmint (nepeta x faasenii); ferns (don’t know which) and a purple-striped white geranium.

Bottom row: Rodgersia and below it amsonia with scilla; thyme, pink geranium,  sensitive fern; prickly pear cactus flower (Opuntia humifusa); pink drumstick primrose (Primula denticulata), I think; purple tradescantia and below it a kind of marsh marigold (Caltha sp.)

Another view of the (?) drumstick primrose and ferns, early June 2015:


And another view of the beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis syn. Linnea amabilis), late June 2016:




Alpine & rock garden plants: Summer (July-Sept):


Top half: blue spruce and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra); white and purple iris; orange and yellow butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Bottom half: orange-red butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa); an orange-red heath or heather above a purple hosta; red cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) above reddening Rodgersia leaves.


Alpine & rock garden plants: Autumn (Oct & Nov.):


Clockwise: leaves of beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis syn. Linnea amabilis); purple flowers of Gentiana scabra , probably ‘Zuki Rindo’ or possibly ‘Little Pinkie’; blue spruce in sunlight; leaves and berries of beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis syn. Linnea amabilis); probably Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’; cardinal flower again (Lobelia cardinalis).


Alpine & rock garden plants: Winter (Dec.-March):

Well, nothing’s blooming and everything’s under the snow in winter, so it’s slim pickings. But I do like that evergreen shrub.



Animals in the alpine garden.

No garden is complete without them.


Clockwise: chipmunk, June 2015; tadpoles, June 2016; frog, May 2016; chipmunk with Japanese lantern, April 2018; deer near crabapples, Nov. 2015; mating damselflies, June 2016; and chipmunk again, June 2015.


Thanks for visiting. Check out some other mosaics at the link below.


  1. Glorious. My applause to those stonemasons for their efforts. It has truly paid off. I hope someday for my garden to look as wonderfully natural. Thanks for sharing this spectacular site with Mosaic Monday!

  2. From December to March, is that a pinon pine in the snow in the upper left corner? I found that there are actually garden varieties of that available now, although I would prefer a wild form if I were to grow one.

    1. I don’t know what it is. I guess it could be a piñón pine. It’s beautiful, with long green and bluish needles. I’ll have to check it out in the spring/summer. It’s definitely not native here but there are non-natives planted in The Fells gardens.

      1. Oh, if the needles are long, it is not likely a pinon pine. I think that the needles of the long leafed pinon are only longer than those of the common pinon, but are still shorter than those of most other pines.

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