There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of common spotted orchids in the scrubby woodland near Benthall Hall last year – and the year before. Perhaps they’ve been and gone again. There were lots this evening – possibly more widely scattered, but none of those big clumps of fine healthy specimens.
It’s probably indicative of poor gardening – if we’d looked after the grass (I can’t describe it as a lawn) at the back of our house, this wouldn’t have happened, I’m sure. Once again, we have a crop of common spotted orchids – twenty flower heads in total, from perhaps seven or eight plants. The tallest are just-about past it, others are just coming into bloom. They’re welcome visitors (even if they are a b***** to mow around!).
Just occasionally, at this time of year, the eye is caught by a field of brilliant red – thousands upon thousands of poppies. We saw these yesterday, not far from home on our way to Statfold. We’d better go back and have a look today.
After the poppies, one of us (who hadn’t been with me on Friday afternoon) decided she’d like to see the orchids near Benthall Hall. That huge clump is still standing, of course. “How many are there?”. I’d underestimated on Friday. “167”. It wasn’t easy – they kept moving around in the stiff and unseasonal breeze. I’ve no idea* what the little bright orange flower is, growing nearby, but it seemed worth a snap…
* found out later…
The wild rose is in bloom now, and very attractive it is, with almost-white and decidedly pink specimens. I’m wandering near Benthall Hall on a fine June afternoon. There’s woody nightshade beside the pool, and several orchids (common spotted) in the grass nearby. In the meadow beyond, there are several more amongst the buttercups and daisies. Then, in the scrubby grassland beyond, there are many more – a clump of several large heads catches my eye – and finally there’s a patch of maybe a hundred flower heads. Quite a sight!
The fields here are in the care of the National Trust, part of the Benthall Hall estate.
(see previous post “Commonly spotted – accidental gardening“)
Scenes from a back garden: The most successful residents of our garden are often the accidentals – a fine flock of aquilegias, which arrived uninvited, for example. The “let’s leave it and see what it grows into” principle has served well. The lace-cap hydrangea and the weigela grew from bits accidentally broken off their parents (bought from garden centres). The parents died off years ago, but the broken bits, just pushed into the soil and well-watered, have flourished. Recently, when cutting the grass (it wouldn’t be right to describe it as a lawn) I spotted (wrong word) some distinctive leaves, just in time – and having managed to protect them from the mower, they’ve thrown up shoots with flower heads – common spotted orchids. Now why couldn’t they have come up in one of the borders?