This has been a particularly spectacular year for orchids, and the peak season still has more than a month to go. All the wild orchids have appreciated the cool moist conditions, flowering generously in response to the first really consistently wet spring for a decade.
Greater Butterfly Platanthera chlorantha and the Monkey Orchis simia Orchids are both putting on better shows than we have seen for about 5 or 6 years. These are both common roadside orchids that have been notable by their relative absence for a few years, and are making a very welcome return this year. In a good year, the colonies of Monkey Orchids are very noticeable as crowds of pink flower spikes in the grass. The Greater Butterflies are more discreet, but groups of their starry spires are easy to spot on grassy banks once you know what to look for.