May 2nd 2020
With a traditional garden you see mostly what you expect. With a wildlife (eco-friendly) garden you always have surprises. Sometimes they are beautiful and have one jumping for joy. Today was another one of those.
Being May, the traditional aspects of Forest Edge’s garden look lovely. The trees and shrubs continue their succession – now with the white and red may trees in flower with the elder flower bushes just starting to show their colour and the wild vibernums also showing willingness.
Some ‘garden’ shrubs we use as impact plants in the wild meadows, but mostly they sit in wide, but traditional, borders.
Some years back I tried to grow wild UK orchids from seed. This is not easy. Firstly, I had to build a laminar-flow sterile cabinet, surface sterilize the dust-like orchid seeds to just the right degree. Too much and they died. Too little and they would be killed by contaminating fungi. Next: sowing them on an expensive artificial medium in petri dishes in the cabinet PLUS an inoculation of a specific fungal partner for the seeds. The seeds only germinate and grow with a particular fungal friend. Wait months, then hopefully there will be a small % germinate. Avoiding contamination these need transferring through several different growing media … a year later one or two will be just big enough to transfer into soil. Most hate it and vanish. A year later the two left alive need to be planted out – in my case into the Spring Meadow. Where, I thought, all promptly died!
Not so! Today, some five or six years later I spot one flowering in the meadow. WOW!
The orchid is a darkly coloured green-winged orchid – with the green stripes just visible under the wings. It is only small – some 10cm high, but perhaps it will grow with additional years in the soil. It is a precious resource especially if seeds can be produced and spread.
These orchids were once common but, with agricultural ‘improvement’, are now rare. But, many would say the UK has a hugely degraded environment when compared to other similar countries. Perhaps the Agriculture Bill will be a step to a better world.
Other orchids showing themselves currently are: Monkey x Military orchid (in flower), greater and lesser butterfly orchids (in bud), twayblades (in bud), spotted orchids (Potted and just starting to bud), southern marsh orchids (one in bud) and pyramidal orchids growing in their scores.
Enjoy the delights around you.