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!