Thursday, 5 November 2015

Flagging Up the Orchids

Just recently I received the most splendid gift imaginable. It came suitably wrapped in a gold plastic bag, with a bundle of wires sticking out the mouth of the bag.

A Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum hircinum flagged near the potager fence.
Tim had been putting an order in to NHBS for some new toys (err, I mean equipment...) and spotted some marking flags in the catalogue. He got some for himself and very kindly got some for me too. The flags come in red or yellow vinyl and are for use by botanists to mark individual plants in the field. To avoid adding further to the environment's contamination with heavy metals they do not contain any lead. Routinely added to plastics intended for the outdoors to provide UV protection, lead just as routinely leaches into the environment as these plastics break down. It will be interesting to see how long the flags last, as they will have to be out in all weathers all year long. 

A little group of Ophrys spp orchids flagged in the potager.
Every orchid in the orchard that has poked its leaves above ground so far for the coming new year has been given a flag, carefully and consistently placed just to the west of each plant. I've also marked a couple of Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxa caterpillar nests and a Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa egg sack, so that they are not stood on or mowed over.

I reckon it's up there in my list of top 5 best presents ever. Thanks Tim!


Colin and Elizabeth said...

What a good idea, we had so many in the last couple of years that we have to just block mark them. Some of these will be handy though.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

S'alright... they're way cheaper in bulk... even if they've just put the price up!!
What I am going to do now is see if I can write on them in something that doesn't fade.
Pauline uses graphite pencil for the plant labels... they stay on for around forever...
but they are also slightly rough... these flags ain't!

And Pauline thinks the front lawn looks like a putting green!!

Susan said...

I thought about putting notes on them too, but decided to leave it until I know how long they last. Graphite or chinagraph is probably the go.

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