Guidelines for planting and monitoring
To facilitate later observations, the indicator plants should be planted in one bed (some stepping stones next to the plants will ease later access). Soil should be with a good drainage, and not acid. Plant with enough space, that plantlets can develop. Neighbouring vegetation should be low, to avoid possible shading.
Label the plants acurately, in particular the dioecious species (Rhodiola rosea, Salix reticulata) to avoid any confusion when monitoring. In the case of the dioecious species it is recommendable to not plant the two sexes next to each other.
Especially in the case of herbaceous species, ripe fruits have to be removed regularly to guarantee genetical uniformity in the long term. Seedlings as well as competing weed have to be picked.
A climate station either in or close to the botanic garden is imperative for the future evaluation of the collected phenological data.
The indicator plants should be monitored three times a week, e.g. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The phenological observations should be carried out app. at the same time on each of the observation days, e.g. always at 11:00 a.m. (a trial in the Alpine Garden on the Schachen has shown, that observations for all 12 indicator species can be done in less than 30 min).
The phenology tables depict the defined markers with a short description and a photo (sometimes emphasised with a sketch). If a specific phenological stage has been reached, make a note on the data sheet with the date. Crucial is the first day, when a phenological stage is reached. After this first day, the plant has to be monitored for the next stage.
If the indicator plant or parts of the plant are damaged, make a note. Continue with the observations on other parts of the plant, when possible (e.g. if the inflorescence of Arnica montana has been damaged by hail, take a note and continue observation at another inflorescence. Note the developmental phase of this one at the beginning).
A temporary labelling may be necessary when more than one person is recording the data (e.g. to help the next recorder to find the almost but not fully ripe female cones of Alnus viridis).
Fertile rosettes of Saxifraga paniculata can be identified when the middle of the rosette rises upwards with smaller leafs. As soon as the growing inflorescence is slightly above the upper end of the rosette, two specimens are chosen and marked with different sticks. The height for each is measured (in millimeters) and recorded separately on monitoring days. The size of the rosette does not change during the growth of the inflorescence. Take care that the two labelled specimens are not mixed up. The further observations on Saxifraga paniculata (e. g. the first flower) are monitored on the whole phenologcal stock and not only on the two rosettes selected for the height measurment.