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Author Topic: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012  (Read 9828 times)

Maggi Young

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SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« on: October 02, 2011, 06:10:26 PM »

     Eastern landscape


    Fritillaria armena in habitat

I am delighted to present to Forumists this information about a tour for 2012 that looks to be full of "eastern promise".
The photos accompanying this post are by Chris Gardner.

 
   Fritillaria aurea

Margaret and David Thorne (well known to members of the SRGC as stalwarts of the Borders Group and to those lucky folks who have travelled with the Thornes on the trips they have lead for various AGS tours) are organising a trip to Eastern Turkey, which will be led by botanical experts Professor Adil Güner,
his daughter Başak and son-in-law, Chris Gardner.

 
     Fritillaria persica Black Form

Experienced tour leaders Margaret and David have not yet visited this area themselves, so they have opted to organise this tour with Adil, Başak and Chris, so the "back-up" of botanical and local knowledge on the tour will be second to none.

 
     Iris sari

If you would love to explore the mountains of Turkey but are unsure of how to arrange such a trip yourself, why not join this SRGC trip to some of the country’s most biodiverse areas?  Turkey is a country of, it seems, almost endless variety in habitat and certainly an enormous range of plants, many endemic.  There are historical sites and wonderful birds to see as well, to name only a couple of "other" attractions!

We have been fortunate to see glimpses of this beautiful country through the pages of the Journal, from the International Rock Gardener and in this very Forum, where many of the plants have featured.....which will all have served to heighten enthusiasm to see these areas in real life. This tour presents a super opportunity to do just that.





More to follow!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 05:12:32 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 06:12:06 PM »
 I repeat here the introductory piece to the tour from the recent Rock Garden Journal: attached as a pdf.

* RGTurkeyresize.pdf (284.45 kB - downloaded 169 times.)

 Margaret and David will be pleased to answer any questions you might have, either privately or by posting here.


 Email: craigurdAThotmail.com ( replacing the AT with @)

« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 11:30:46 AM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 06:17:30 PM »
Further details of the Tour.....

SCOTTISH ROCK GARDEN CLUB
TURKISH MOUNTAINS TOUR 2012

Saturday 5th to 19th May 2012

Day 1   UK to Istanbul. o/n Istanbul
Day 2   Nezihat Gokyığıt Botanic Bahcesi & to Trabzon o/n Trabzon
Day 3   Zigana Pass o/n Bayburt
Day 4   Bayburt to Erzurum o/n Erzurum
Day 5   Palandoken Mountains o/n Erzurum
Day 6   Erzurum to Erzincan via Kop Pass o/n Ezincan
Day 7   Otlukbeli Mountains o/n Erzincan
Day 8   Erzincan to Kemaliye o/n Kemaliye
Day 9   Subatan Mountain o/n Kemaliye
Day 10   Kemaliye to Malatya o/n Malatya
Day 11   Doğanşehir Mountain o/n Malatya
Day 12   Kübbe Pass o/n Malatya
Day 13   Malatya to Karamanmaraş o/n Karamanmaraş
Day 14   Ahir Mountain o/n Karamanmaraş
Day 15   Return flights – Karamanmaraş to Istanbul & UK

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1      UK to Turkey

Upon arrival at Istanbul Ataturk airport we will transfer to a hotel in the Sultanahmet area of the city close to the famous Blue Mosque and take dinner nearby.

Day 2      Visit to Nezihat Gokyığıt Botanic Bahcesi & to Trabzon

In the morning we’ll transfer to the Nezihat Gokyığıt Botanic Bahcesi and be met by Prof Adil Guner and given a personal tour by him of the gardens.  Lunch will be in the garden allowing more time to look around in the afternoon before we drive to the airport for a late flight to Trabzon on the Black Sea coast in north-east Turkey where we’ll overnight. o/n Horon Hotel, Trabzon.

Day 3      Zigana & Kose Passes

After breakfast we drive south via Macka where there are good orchids such as Orchis stevenii and also Aristolochia pontica then up and over the 2600 metre Zigana Pass (snow permitting) with lots of Viola altaica, Gentiana verna subsp. pontica, hopefully still Cyclamen parviflorum, Trollius ranunculinus, Primula auriculata and Caltha polypetala.  Lower down the woods have Helleborus orientalis and Dactylorhiza flavescens.  We’ll descend and carry onto Gumushane and the Kose Pass for Tulipa armena, Muscari armeniacum, Thlaspi ochroleucum and possibly Fritillaria pinardii before arriving in Bayburt. o/n Abideş Hotel,  Bayburt (1 night)

 
Days 4 & 5   Erzurum area & Palandoken Mountains

From Bayburt we’ll drive east alongside the Coruh Nehri river before turning south for the Golyurt Pass and the Agziacik Pass and then down to Erzurum.  These are unknown passes for us so it will be an early chanced to explore and see what we find.  North of Erzurum the Coruh Valley runs for many miles around the town of Tortum there are many Iris taochia and other interesting steppe species such as Morina persica and Eremostachys laciniata.  There will be two nights in Erzurum a conservative eastern city.

There are other good passes in the Palandoken Mountains to the south with walking opportunities so we’ll have time here to find good populations of deep purple Iris reticulata, Scilla sibirica, Colchicum szovitsii close to the melting snow and masses of Primula elatior subsp. pallasii, Pulsatilla albana and Corydalis oppositifolia. o/n Palan Hotel, Erzurum (2 nights).  

Days 6 & 7   Erzincan area - Kop Pass & Kolcekmez Pass

On the way to Erzincan we’ll go via the Kop Pass, great for Crocus biflorus subsp. tauri (and if it’s an early year Fritillaria alburyana, but this really peaks in June).  On the way we will also see Tulipa armena and the amazing Tchihatchewia isatidea a localised endemic.  

The Erzincan area is comprised of mainly volcanic ash substrates of many colours and this encourages a great variety of other endemics such as Hesperis brachyscapa, Muscari massayanum and other great steppe plants such as Arnebia densiflora, Rindera lanata and Ricotia aucheri.  Kolcekmez Dag Pass to the north of the town is very good with higher limestone cliffs encrusted in Saxifraga kotschyi, alpine turf full of Pulsatilla albana, Crocus biflorus subsp. tauri, Aethionema spp and Draba bruniifolia.  Lower areas have hummocks of endemic Silene ruscifolia.  o/n Sembol Hotel, Ezincan (2 nights).

Days 8 & 9   Kemaliye - Subatan Mountain    

Kemaliye is perched above one branch of the immense lake formed behind the Keban Dam.  The journey the goes over the Sakultutan Pass with populations Muscari azureum, Muscari aucheri, Primula elatior and a few Fritillaria armena.  The rest of the journey is along a previously untraveled route through the northern Munzur Mountains where we’d hope to see Alkanna pseudotinctoria, Astragalus christianus and maybe Iris sari.  Erminium rauwolfii also occurs in this area.  Around Kemaliye are populations of Ophrys scolopax oestrifera and Dianthus orientalis and up on Subatan Mountain is colourful Onosma albo-roseum, wonderful drifts of Fritillaria armena, Muscari azureum, Ornithogalum oligophyllum and Hyacinthus orientalis.  Snow patches will have Eranthis cilicicus, Scilla sibirica and Colchicum szovtisii whilst Iris caucasica grows on the limestone rocks lower down.  There are good walking possibilities here. o/n Bozkurt Otel, Kemaliye (2 nights).

Days 10, 11 & 12   Malatya - Doğanşehir Mountain & Kübbe Pass

On the journey to Malatya are scrub oak woods with lots of Orchis punctulata and Cephalanthera kotschyana and a side road leads to a village where there are superb stands of Iris sari and a small population of Fritillaria imperialis (although this really is April flowering, but there may be a few for those who climb up), Astragalus christianus, Tulipa armena and Eremurus spectabilis.  

Around Malatya the Doğanşehir Mountains are superb with some great limestone and ideal for walking with crags full of stunning Fritillaria aurea, Erysimum thyrsoides, Solenanthus stamineus, unusual forms of Corydalis wendelboi, Scilla bifolia, Aubretia canescens, Anemone blanda, Myosotis alpestris and the amazing scarlet Phelypaea coccinea.  Lower down are populations of Orchis coriophora.  This is an area we haven’t fully explored and the higher areas beg a closer look.  

The Kübbe Pass has a new species of Bellevalia as yet unnamed and if we’re lucky a new juno iris (although these really peak a month earlier) as well as Lotus gebbelia.  Not so far away to the west is the low Karahan Pass with Asphodeline tenuior, Iberis attica, Moltkia caerulea and other steppic species. o/n Yeni Kent Otel, Malatya (3 nights).

Days 13 & 14   Karamanmaras & Ahır Dağı

Once again crossing the Karahan Pass (without stopping this time) we continue cross country before reaching  the excellent Püren Pass with many rocky valleys and slopes to explore and where there may be Fritillaria persica in flower growing on the coarse limestone screes.  Fritillaria hermonis occurs too higher up and may be in flower, but around late snow patches will again be Crocus biflorus tauri, Corydalis rutifolia and on the rocks in Scilla melaina.  Muscari anatolica occurs in small numbers.  

Ahır Dağı rises above the city and it is an excellent location for the wonderful Iris kirkwoodii.  To the west near Göksun is another pass where the woods should still have some Cyclamen pseudoibericum, Muscari armeniacum, Corydalis henrikii and probably Tulipa sylvestris.  Any high snows could have Fritillaria pinardii and both Fritllaria acmopetala and alfredae also occur in the oak woods on the way to and from along with Onosma albo-roseum and fantastic displays of Glaucium grandiflorum. o/n Saffron Hotel, Karamanmaraş (2 nights).

Day 15      Return to Scotland

Departure from Karamanmaraş for the flight to Istanbul and then onto London Heathrow.

 
Information

Price is          £1700 per person sharing
Single supplement is       £245 person
Deposit is          £300 per person
No flights are included in the price.

Focus
Flowers.

Leaders
Chris Gardner, Başak Gardner and Adil Güner.

Walking
Much of the tour is on roadside slopes, however during the day you might easily cover three or four miles, and on some days more. In some areas there will opportunity to walk more. Slopes are often quite steep and the ground rough underfoot.

Included in the price
All transport, meals and accommodation in Turkey. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.

Group Size
The minimum is 10 and the maximum is 20.

Accommodation
The hotels are listed in the itinerary. All these hotels are of a decent three star standard or better and all rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.

Climate
Generally warm and sunny. However cooler, rainy, weather is possible and at higher levels it can be quite chilly.

How to Book
Please fill in a Greentours Booking Form which you can download from www.greentours.co.uk or call Greentours on 01298 83563 and they’ll send you one. A detailed information pack will be dispatched twelve weeks prior to departure.

 
PLANT LIST

The list features the showiest species in particular bulbs and alpines.  There are of course many more taxa from other groups to be seen.
 

Adonis aestivalis
Aethionema caespitosum
Aethionema iberideum
Aethionema speciosum
Ajuga orientalis
Alkanna pseudotinctoria
Allium kharputense
Anchusa aucheri
Androsace villosa
Anemone blanda
Aquilegia olympica
Aristolochia bottae
Aristolochia maurorum
Aristolochia pontica
Arnebia densiflora
Arnebia pulchra
Arum conaphalloides
Asphodeline damascene
Asphodeline tenuior
Astragalus cephalotes
Astragalus christianus
Astragalus inserta
Astraglaus campylosemma
Aubretia canescens
(Bellevalia fominii)
Bellevalia pycnantha
Bellevalia sp (new sp Kubbe Pass)
Caltha polypetala
Campanula betulifolia
Cardamine uliginosa
Cenaurea virgata
Centranthus longifolia
Cephalanthera damasonium
Cephalanthera kotschyana
Cephalanthera longifolia
Cephalanthera rubra
Cerastium purpurascens
Cerasus hippophaeoides
Chesneya elegans
Cistus creitcus
Cistus salvifolius
Colchicum szovitzii
Consolida orientalis
Coronilla orientalis
Corydalis henrikii

Corydalis oppositifolia
Corydalis rutifolia
Corydalis wendelboi
Crocus biflorus tauri
Cyclamen parviflorum
Cyclamen psuedibericum
Dactylorhiza flavescens
Dactylorhiza osmanica
Dactylorhiza spp
Dactylorhiza urvilleana
Dactylrhoiza euxina
Dianthus orientalis
Draba bruniifolia
Draba polytricha
Epipactis veratrifolia
Eranthis cilicicus
Eremostachys laciniata
Eremostachys moluccelloides
Eremurus spectabilis
Erica arborea
(Erminium rauwolfii)
Erysimum thyrsoides
(Fritillaria alburyana)
Fritillaria armena
Fritillaria aurea
Fritillaria hermonis
Fritillaria imperialis
Fritillaria persica
Fritillaria pinardii
Gagea glacialis
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana vernna subsp pontica
Geranium psilotstemon
Geropogon colorata
Gladiolus atroviolaceus
Gladiolus kotschyanus
Glaucium grandiflorum
Globularia trichosantha
Gundelia tournefortii
Helleborus orientalis
Hesperis breviscapa
Hesperis campicarpa
Hesperis cappadocica
Hesperis persica
Hyacinthus orientalis
Hypercoum pseudograndiflorum
Hypericum scabrum
Iberis attica
Iris caucasica
Iris kirkwoodii
Iris reticulata
Iris sari
(Iris sp - new sp Kubbe Pass)
Iris taochia
Isatis cappadocica
Lamium garganica
Legousia speculum-veneris
Linaria corifolia
Linum mucronatum
Linum tenuifolium
Listera ovata
Lotus gebelia
Matthiola longipetala
Micromeria elliptica
Moltkia caerulea
Morina persica
Muscari armeniaca
Muscari aucheri
Muscari azureum
Muscari caucasica
Muscari coeleste
Muscari comosum
Muscari massayanum
Myosotis alpestris
Neottia nidus-avis
Onobrychis argyrea
Onobrychis huetiana
Onosma albo-rosea
Onosma aucherianum
Onosma molle
Ophrys scolopax oestrifera
Orchis anatolica
Orchis collina
Orchis coriophora
Orchis provincialis
Orchis punctulata
Orchis satyroides
Orchis simia
Orchis spp
Orchis stevenii
Ornithogalum narbonense
Ornithogalum oliogophyllum
Ornithogalum umbellatum
(Paeonia mascula)
Papaver lateritum
Papaver rhoeas
Pedicualaris comosum
Pelargonium endlicherianum
Phelypaea coccinea/tournefortii
Primula algida
Primula auriculata
Primula elatior subsp pallasii
Primula veris
Pulsatilla albana
Ranunculus aucheri
Ranunculus kochii
Rhododendron luteum
Rhododendron ponticum
Rhynchocrys striata
Ricotia aucheri
Rindera lanata
Roemeria hybrida
Salvia bracteata
Salvia frigida
Salvia multicaulis
Salvia suffruticosa
Saxifraga cymbalaria
Saxifraga kotschyi
Scilla bifolia
Scilla melaina
Scilla sibirica
Scilla armena
Scutellaria oreintalis
Silene ruscifolia
Solenanthus stamineus
Steveniella satyroides
Stipa Arabica
Tchihatchewia isatidea
Thlaspi ochroleucum
Trollius ranunculinus
Tulipa armena
Tulipa sintinesii
Veronica caespitose
Veronica macrostachya subsp mardinensis
Veronica orientalis
Vicia noeana
Vincetoxicum canescens
Vincetoxicum fallosum
Viola altaica
Weidermannia orientalis

« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 06:19:02 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 06:35:49 PM »
Başak is a renowned botanical artist and her Father, Professor Adil Güner (our Speaker at the  Late Bulb Day 2010) is the head of the Nezihat Gokyığıt Botanical Garden  (with its extraordinary bulb collection in the centre of the motorway system !)

Sandy's report on the event  http://www.srgc.org.uk/shows/latebulb/2010.pdf
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 06:44:33 PM »
315143-0
  Arnebia densiflora

Here is the Thornes' introductory letter for those interested in this exciting trip..........


To all members interested in the SRGC TURKISH MOUNTAINS TOUR 2012
Here are the full details of the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s visit to eastern Turkey from Saturday 5th May – Saturday 19th May 2012. We have planned the route to include many exciting mountainous areas where we are confident of finding a whole host of interesting plants, an indicative list of which is included as part of the information.
The Tour is being organised through Greentours, so the money you pay for the trip is fully protected by their ATOL licence. We and many of our friends have travelled with this company and we highly recommend them. You must also have your own travel insurance: either the policy offered by Greentours, or one offering at least as much cover which you have organised yourself.
The price of the trip is £1700 per person sharing which does not include any flights. In addition to your international flight to and from Istanbul, internal flights will cost approximately £200.
Once 10 members have paid their deposit to Greentours, they will be notified, and flights will be arranged to suit their particular requirements. Alternatively, participants may wish to arrange their own flights, but this should not be done until they have received confirmation that the minimum number of bookings has been received. Flight prices tend to increase, so the sooner you book your place on this trip, the lower the total cost of the flights is likely to be.
For SRGC members travelling from Scotland, there is a number of flight options which fit the itinerary. For example, travelling by British Airways from Glasgow to Istanbul return (via Heathrow) currently costs £327. We can recommend the Normandy Hotel in Glasgow which offers 1 night’s accommodation for 2 people, secure parking and airport transfers for £60, and would suggest this as a good place to start the trip.
Alternatively there are KLM flights from Edinburgh to Istanbul (outward via Amsterdam and return via Paris) for a similar price. London to Istanbul return by Turkish Airlines is currently £277.
Although we suggested in ‘The Rock Garden’ advertisement that participants must be fit and energetic to benefit fully from the trip, members who feel they might not fall into this category are also welcome. We will be able split into groups according to ability and provided everybody is realistic about their level of fitness, we will all have a great time and see a lot of very good plants.
We hope you will join us on this exciting new SRGC venture. Please send your bookings to Greentours, but do not hesitate to contact us, or them, if you have any queries.

With best wishes, David and Margaret


315145-1
 Muscari azureum close up

315147-2
 Muscari azureum

315149-3
  Onosma albo-roseum

315151-4
 
 Tchihatchewia isatidea




« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 06:49:45 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 06:53:00 PM »
I know Margaret and David would be  pleased to answer any queries here, or you can contact them, or GreenTours, direct.

It would be super to have any remarks and photographs from Forumists familiar with the area posted here as well....... 8)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Hoy

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 08:46:04 PM »
I would love to go! However I can't take a long holiday at that time of the year :'(

I visited Eastern Turkey in July a couple of years ago (Van - Iran border area) and had a fabulous time. A lot of interesting plants although the bulbs had finished at that time.
The people we met was very friendly and helpfull.

We visited some elevated places where the plants still were in full bloom. Here are a few:
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 09:06:22 PM by Hoy »
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Arda Takan

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 07:52:49 AM »
That's the trip of my dreams! but it is very expensive =(
in Eskisehir / Turkey

Maureen Wilson

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 05:13:49 PM »
I would love to go, but don't know if I can face up to the length of the flying time or organising my own flights.  Can thoroughly recommend Chris Gardner as a leader. Brian & I went on a few Greentours holidays where Chris was the leader.
Linlithgow, W. Lothian in Central Scotland

PeterT

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 08:20:41 PM »
That's the trip of my dreams! but it is very expensive =(
I wasn't sure where to put this so I have put it here.
I remember a lecture at the International Rock Garden Conference  earlier this year in Nottingham, by somebody who is involved in a project to start the local cultivation and  growing within Turkey, of Turkish bulbs for export. I have mislaid the relevant AGS bulletin, hence this post. I think the project might interest Arda, if anyone could furnish more details

Maggi Young

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 09:58:14 PM »
That's the trip of my dreams! but it is very expensive =(
I wasn't sure where to put this so I have put it here.
I remember a lecture at the International Rock Garden Conference  earlier this year in Nottingham, by somebody who is involved in a project to start the local cultivation and  growing within Turkey, of Turkish bulbs for export. I have mislaid the relevant AGS bulletin, hence this post. I think the project might interest Arda, if anyone could furnish more details
Peter, I think that must have been in Michael Kammerlander's talk 'Iris Addiction' or else Brian Mathew's on 'Frontiersmen of the Past'.
I will check to see if I can find the reference you mean.....


 later edit: cannot find anything so far, neither can Ian recall anything of that offhand....  perhaps someone else has better recall and will know where to look?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 10:06:59 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

PeterT

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2011, 07:39:45 AM »
Thanks Maggie, It was not in Michael Ks juno talk or Brians talk on plantsmen, nor was it John Grimshaw.
I think it was someone who had just flown in from Turkey.
The speaker was very active in the project within Turkey. I tried a google search just now and came up with this:
http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/~spgp/Fall%202002/Indigenous%20propagation%20project%20of%20threatened%20Turkish%20bulbs-overview.pdf
I'm pretty sure this is the right project.

Margaret Thorne

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 02:35:54 PM »
I would love to go, but don't know if I can face up to the length of the flying time or organising my own flights.  Can thoroughly recommend Chris Gardner as a leader. Brian & I went on a few Greentours holidays where Chris was the leader.

You don't have to organise your own flights, Maureen, Greentours will do that for you. On the outward journey we have an overnight in Istanbul which breaks up the flights, but not on the way home.

Kees Jan

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 09:46:46 PM »
It looks like a great trip!

I visited the NE a couple of years ago in spring and returned to the east this autumn. Perhaps this is the place to share a rather sad story about habitat destruction. During my spring trip the highlight was perhaps a Saxifraga kotschyi population in full flower on a fantastic limestone outcrop just north of Kop Dag Pass... We spend hours there photograping all sorts of plants on the ridge, and fantastic fritillaries in a nearby scree, like the fritillary shown below, I suppose crasifolia ssp. crassifolia.

Imagine the shock returning there about 8 weeks ago finding no sign of this fantastic limestone rock outcrop whatsoever. Kop Dag Pass has been made a lot wider, a road the size of a runway for large passenger planes... In the process the complete limestone ridge MUST have been used for building material :-\ :'( :-\... All gone, including many saxifrages and other exciting plants. No sign of it whatsoever.... We even went back to check once again. Gone :o ::) :'(. I repeat, the complete outcrop, clearly visible on the right in the first picture is GONE!!! I will post some pics here..., as a tribute to what used to be a really fantastic location.

There is a lot of (road) building going on in eastern Turkey, Kop Dag Pass is not an exception. Don't be put off going there ofcourse, it's still fantastic, but it must be said there is much destruction going on. We did find S. kotschyi elsewhere in the Kopdag area, but not nearly in such a nice location. Another, and much worse example of destruction is de Coruh valley, one of the biodiversity hotspots of Turkey, where a cascade of 13 hydro electric reservoirs is being constructed....... ::) :-\ :'( Turkey has a policy of becoming less dependant on oil, but at least some of the hydro electric projects that are carried out are very controversial, not just because of damage to nature, sometimes whole communities are forced to move :( >:(.

Don't be put off to join this trip though, there are vast quantities of splendid nature to enjoy in this part of Turkey. My pics from the spring trip to the NE can be found in the following gallery on my website http://keesjan.smugmug.com/Botanical-trips/Asia/Northeastern-Turkey-May/
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 10:37:21 PM by Kees Jan »
Kees Jan van Zwienen

Alblasserdam, The Netherlands (chairman NRV, the Dutch Rock Garden Club)

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Margaret Thorne

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Re: SRGC Guided Tour to Eastern Turkey - May 2012
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2011, 12:41:47 PM »
The vast majority of the Turkey is incredibly beautiful and ecologically rich, though as Kees found, in such a rapidly developing country there is always the danger of habitat loss even in relatively remote places.
This makes it all the more important for as many people as possible to visit Turkey (and other countries in a similar position) to study, photograph, document and enjoy what is there, and to share it with others through the Forum. Spring and autumn visits are particularly welcomed by local businesses as they extend the visitor season beyond the popular summer months, and consequently provide additional employment and an economic argument for conserving the natural environment.
There are still places left on this trip, so please fill in your Booking Form quickly if you do would like to join us.