I’ve spent the last two weekends doing one of my favourite activities, plant hunting – or, to be more specific, orchid hunting! The first place I went to was Kynance Cove (near Lizard, in Cornwall) with my good friend and fellow orchid hunter and expert, Neville Evans.
The day we chose to go out wasn’t exactly the most inspiring of days, in fact it was pretty miserable – windy, raining and once we hit the coast there was a lovely sea mist rolling in, making it impossible to see anything except ourselves!
Even though the weather wasn’t on our side it was still a stunning location – people say Kynance Cove is the most beautiful place in Cornwall and I can see why. I’ve never seen anywhere that looks as amazing as it does, even on that grey, damp day it still looked stunning.
I took some shots of the views (and ourselves!) as well as what we drove miles and miles to see – orchids!! Me and Nev must have looked like nutters, crawling around in sodden grass and crouching over plants with eye-glasses and cameras!
We only found one species of orchid, which was the Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula). As its name suggests, it’s one of the earliest flowering orchids in Britain, appearing from April to June. It likes non-acidic soils so is usually found in hedgerows, banks, woodland and open grassland. Asides the dark purple flowers, the other easy way of identifying it is by its glossy green leaves, which have dark spots on them.
The second place I found orchids was right on my doorstep. I went home to Devon at the weekend and found a display of Early Purples about half a mile from where I live, on a bank which overlooks a dual carriageway. Talk about growing in an inaccessible place!
I spotted them as I was driving up the hill and screeched into the nearest lay-by to take a closer look. Nev would be proud of me, his ability to spot orchids when driving along at 40mph must have rubbed off onto me!
Bluebells and red campions were growing amongst the orchids, the clash of colour with the lush green grass was exquisite. It just shows you don’t need to travel far to see something beautiful, we all have beauty we can appreciate right under our noses. Until next time, I’ll leave you with a quote from a book called Orchid Fever: