Thursday, June 23, 2011

County flower on show in Bedfordshire

Bad news.

Camera is playing up. It's done well for 6 years but now it's time for it to go to Silicon Heaven. I wish it well.

Good news.

I have a birthday (a big one, so not such good news) in a week or so, so a new camera may be on the way. Yay!

Back to today. I decided, despite monsoon-like rain showers this morning, to brave the dratted weather and get out for a walk.

I ventured to one of my usual haunts, which I've not visited for over 3 weeks, and wandered about the farm tracks rather aimlessly. Perhaps it was the weather (it's midsummer for goodness sake so where is the sun?), but I felt a tad, well bored really and saddened, by the homogeneity of the verges and agricultural weeds around about. Sometimes I feel the whole country is just turning into one huge homogeneous green splurge. Verges look the same whether you are in Yorkshire or Hertfordshire, with ox-eye daisy seemingly in some kind of bid for world domination (on long stretches of the A1M anyhow). Perhaps I am just coming down off a botanical high after the buzz of seeing the unique flora in Upper Teesdale.

The skies certainly looked threatening and I was just about to head home, when something caught my eye in the grass in a small copse by the footpath.

Bee orchids! I looked about and found more.....

....and more.....

...and more. Not 1, not 2, not 3.........but 60 bee orchids (Ophrys apifera). 60! Most were past their best, but a lovely and unexpected sight.

I wondered if the farmer knew about them and how I could contact him to let him know. I rarely meet anyone in this area, so started to walk back to the car, when a 4-wheel drive came into view. I flagged it down, and as luck would have it, t'was the farmer and the agronomist. Perfect timing.

They told me the trees had been planted 15 years since. They didn't know about the orchids, were delighted to see them and said they'd strim the area over winter. They also suggested I contact the landowner and gave me her number, which I did.

I had no idea, but apparently the bee orchid is Bedfordshire's county flower.

How apposite.

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