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Andermatt Swiss Alps

On rhododendrons, Swiss pines and mountain ash

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Soon after the snow melts, nature reawakens in Andermatt. Two years ago the grounds sur-rounding the apartment buildings were sown with a wildflower mix, and today the biodiversity is plain to see. Sandro Danioth, Head of Logistics at Andermatt Swiss Alps, is responsible for the greenery throughout the tourist resort, among other things: “The seed mix we used perfectly matches the location of Andermatt. Our fields blend in with the natural surroundings.”

Around the new golf clubhouse there is somewhat more to be done. In addition to the fields being sown, trees and bushes are being planted. “We are planting indigenous species that thrive in this high-altitude climate. The biggest challenge is the first two to three years, when the trees and bushes need a lot of care.” When the plants are delivered, the root ball is limited to the size of the pot. Once set in the ground, they need time to spread their roots and become established. “Trees suitable for Andermatt include spruce, Swiss pine, willow and mountain pine. Among the bushes we choose barberry, buckthorn, alpine honeysuckle or mountain ash – and of course the rhododendron, or alpenrose. In the more protected locations, we can also plant birch or maple.”

Especially attractive is the system of so-called percolation drains at the car park of the Ander-matt Swiss Alps Golf Course. “These swales provide natural drainage of the parking lot. The inner part consists of stones; where it stops, we have sown wildflower patches – and in spots where a little more space is available some willow trees.” With winters being so long – the last snowfall was not too far back – spring can be a little later in coming. “One mustn’t forget; we are nearly 1,500 metres above sea level. Nature here is not as far advanced as in the lowlands. Once our spring begins, the plants grow all the faster. So it’s important that we catch exactly the right weather period for planting.”

The plants around the apartment buildings are already growing in at their new location. “We brought all the trees and shrubs well through the winter. Soon we will be able to let the plants here grow on their own. The roots have spread and they are strong enough to survive without our help.” Nevertheless, Sandro Danioth and his team are still in demand. They work year-round to make sure that owners and renters of the apartments see more than the construction site when they look out the window.

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