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Saturday, 7 May 2022

A walk up the road and orchids in the lawn

I went for a walk up the road the other day to get a bit of exercise and Vit D. It's Lady Orchid time right now and there are quite a lot of them growing on the verges and wild patches.

Spring is a wonderful time for Euphorbia, here with Red Clover behind it looking very bright and colourful.

Since we moved here, a solar farm has been installed in this field which I would guess is about 2 hectares (5 acres). In the local newsletter, it says this produces enough electricity for about 11,600 households for one year! I wonder then why we don't have more solar farms. This department, being the most windy, has tons of wind turbines, but I have seen very few solar farms. Sheep graze in here too, to keep the grass down in the spring, so it's not taking away the land from agriculture completely.

I have no idea what that square cushion-like thing is though, anyone know?

Why did the caterpillar cross the road? ๐Ÿ˜€ This wasn't the only one I saw either, I saw a furry brown one on the tarmac too. Don't ask me what it is though!

We have a lot of wild lilac around too, and this one in particular seemed to be attracting quite a few butterflies. As well as the ones I've taken photos of, there was a Small Tortoiseshell and a Cleopatra.

Here's a Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), funnily enough when I got home K said that a Scarce Swallowtail had been in the plum outside the kitchen window!

I couldn't get a better picture of it but here's a Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) - they are really common around here early in the year.

Another thing you see a lot of in the spring are these Judas Trees. I first noticed them whilst we were driving along the motorway last spring (missed them the previous year due to the lockdown). Then I noticed there were quite a few in gardens in villages and towns around here too. What is lovely is that they seem to self seed, as along the motorway there are trees of all sizes from little shrub sized ones to big trees. They are so colourful! They are the cousin of my old 'Forest Pansy' from my last garden; that was the Cercis Canadensis (Eastern Redbud), a North Amercan species but the Judas Tree is Cercis Siliquastrum which is a European and Asian species.

Another Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea).

Back in our garden and the new Nectar Bar is coming along nicely. I have a surprise free plant though! I bought three Gaura plants last year but this year there is something that is most definitely not a Gaura appearing which I didn't plant! It must have self seeded in the Gaura pot at the garden centre. Anyway, it's perfect for the Nectar Bar and if you don't know, it's a Valerian (the shoot with the red bud on it).

One of the Sages is already flowering! This one is quite big, the other two which are similar are quite a lot smaller, and the two that I bought (Salvia guaranitica) which said that they grew shrub sized appeared to be dead. On closer inspection more recently, it seems like there is growth at the base of the stems so I have no idea if it does this every year. I can't see it growing to shrub size if it does that. It wasn't like we had a harsh winter. As you can tell, I'm puzzled by that!

More orchids in the lawn - this one surprised me as we already had a flush of Ophrys in the lawn about a month or so back, and most are nearly over, and we have moved on to the Man Orchids. After checking ID on a Facebook group, it seems this is the same as the earlier Ophrys ones (or some of them) - the Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes). They are known for having a variety of patterns on the purple/brown bit (think that is the lip/labellum) so no wonder I am confused!

We have lots of these growing now, they are the Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora) (he's got a funny skinny little body compared to the Lady Orchid๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€).

More buds appearing behind the one flowering.

These are some pictures that Keith took earlier in April when he had his zoom lens to hand and the view was lovely and clear over the mountains.

I had to get a picture of him whilst taking pics, with my phone! ๐Ÿ˜€

This was taken in the same place as my blog header picture, which was a phone photo taken by my sister in law.


  1. SO envious of your Orchids!!! Absolutely beautiful. Excellent post and photos, as always ๐Ÿ˜Š. Thanks for sharing your part of the world!
    Marianne from Arizona

    1. Hi Marianne, thanks for commenting again! Do you have any orchids in your environment? I would have thought not, but it's not something I ever thought about before!

    2. Believe it or not, Arizona DOES have native Orchids! We'll be in Flagstaff in July so if I'm lucky to find one, I'll post a photo and tag you.

      Here are two links. They're both PDFs so I hope they open for you.

      Marianne in Arizona
      (by the way, I started commenting as Anonymous because other options are so tedious!)

    3. Amazing! I had no idea Arizona had so many native orchids! Of course, silly me, I was not thinking about further north in the state like where you go in the summer and autumn, I was just thinking of the desert! You have some really interesting and colourful orchids too. Do you ever go to Flagstaff in the spring? I imagine most orchids would be flowering then.

      You can comment as anything/anybody, I don't mind, whatever is easiest for you! :-)

  2. Wonderful photos Mandy and so lovely to see so many orchids. You are so lucky to have them at home too :) Love the Swallowtail to see the UK one would mean a special trip to Norfolk something I keep saying I will do!!!

    Good to read about the nectar bar - we have valerian in our garden and it does attract pollinators and Hummingbird Hawkmoths just love it :)

    A lovely post.

    1. Hi Caroline, I was just wondering where your comment had gone, because I had received it by email, but it wasn't here! Found it in the spam folder!! I have no idea why. Well, you are unspammed now!

      My valerian is flowering now with several flower stalks, and the sage is in full bloom too - amazing what a bit of sunshine and warmth will do (at last). Not seen much interest in the nectar bar yet by pollinators, hopefully shouldn't take too long! Glad you enjoyed the post, and if you read this, I did read your reply to me re. your neighbours and you have my every sympathy! xx

  3. What a beautiful environment you live in, Mandy! So lovely to have orchids popping up all around. I need to go bushwalking to see native orchids here. It seems like it was a good move as you have so much to enjoy and not too much maintenance to do on your property. I'm so happy for you! :) Keep enjoying! Kim

    1. Hi Kim, thanks so much for commenting! We are excited because we have discovered a different orchid here on the verge outside the house! Yes our move was excellent, I am glad to have a bit of gardening to do but nothing that is too much. My new nectar bar is starting to attract pollinators, I've seen several butterflies and some bumble bees. Fun to watch it developing!

  4. Your cushion - might be water - for the sheep? Would that make sense?

    1. Hi Diana - no I don't think so, because normally animals have troughs in their fields and the farmers come round with a big water tank pulled behind the tractor to fill up the troughs. I've never seen anything like this before! The sheep weren't even there when I was there. I can't imagine it is some kind of battery for storing the electricity generated.... who knows!