A Bee in my Bonnet about Wild Orchids

I’m buzzing because when we arrived in France after, for me at least, a lengthy interval away, I went straight outside to look at the leaf rosettes we had marked with wooden pegs in March.  Behold, Bee orchids.

It’s gratifying on a number of fronts; foremost I have been proved right, as has Dot, against the cautions preached by seasoned botanists.  Admittedly I thought the species we were looking at was the Green-winged orchid, on the basis of distributional information for northern France, and the preference this species has for damper habitat than bee orchids, for which I felt the waterlogging our lawn experiences in autumn and winter would be unfavourable.

So we have a minor nature reserve to manage and my first task is to cut away the grass around the orchids to help us mow the rest of the lawn.  This took all afternoon, after which more stakes had to be cut to mark out plants not previously identified.  In all we have 75 bee orchids, and as Nick reminded me, we would have had more than double that if he had not uprooted them with other ‘weeds’ during one of his lawn management sessions.

Not all the plants are sturdy and when we arrive many are still in bud.  There is blackening to some of the basal leaves which may either result from the extremely dry spring we have experienced, or possibly some late frost damage.

As the week progresses some of the orchids start to fail, they may not have liked to be exposed by my grass-cutting exercise.  Next year if the leaf rosettes appear I will try and group the plants, but not too closely, and keep areas unmown.

For the moment I just enjoying picking my way round the garden and relishing my ‘ownership’, as I go about the general clearance tasks we want to achieve before we leave for Dorset in a couple of days……

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