Orchid markers under the apples.
Yesterday was my birthday, and as a little treat to myself I spent the afternoon in the orchard. I wanted to get the rapidly emerging orchid rosettes marked with sticks. This protects them from being accidentally trodden on (or run over if they are closer to the gate). Later, in the spring it will protect them from being mown off before they have a chance to flower. After they have flowered I leave the markers in until early September, so the orchids are not mown over before the seeds mature and disperse. The species that send their leaves up in the late autumn and winter are not frost tender, so they will survive just about anything the weather sends. If it doesn't rain sufficiently in the spring about a third of them could go dormant again without flowering, but mostly, if they send up leaves they flower.
This is what I was searching for to mark.
It took me 2 hours to methodically work over the orchard grass, searching for rosettes of leaves and sticking a marker in just to the west of each cluster of leaves. In all, 124 orchid plants or clusters of plants of 4 species have sent up leaves so far. This year, the early emergers are those under the apples and to the north of the site, unlike previous years, when the southern side and under the cherries seemed to be the first. I expect the laggards, including the 5th species, will come in due course.
And this is the reward in April for protecting the orchids so they get to flower.