Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Lots of Red and Yellow Flags



Check out all those red and yellow flags! They are marking orchid leaf rosettes in the vegetable garden. That's just the ones that were in this small area on 17 December 2016. Based on my experience of their appearance in previous years, there will be more by spring. These are all Ophrys spp, either Bee Orchids or Early Spider Orchids. I suspect there are three reasons for this explosion of numbers in the vegetable garden. The first is that I keep the grass shorter in here than the rest of the orchard, so they are easier to see. The second is that this area gets much more foot fall than anywhere else in the orchard. This means a bit more disturbance of the soil, which many orchids take advantage of. Last, rain at the right time in the early spring of the previous growing season is very important for many orchids, and this year we had an abundance of rain in early spring.

4 comments:

  1. We will miss all our bee orchids. Your flags are impressive we used yellow plant tags to mark ours. I doubt the new owners will even notice them... Such a shame.
    Mind you next door have NOT seen their new neighbours yet!

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    1. The new owners must be hibernating! and they will undoubtedly just think you are weird for all these random yellow tags in the lawn :-)

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  2. Ah, so we should make sure we walk a lot in our orchid area when they are not in flower! It's true that we have a lot more now that we walk in that area to tend to other flowers nearby.

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    1. Another alternative is to scrape a few small areas with a rake, spade or pick. That will create little areas of bare soil for orchid seeds to germinate in. By small I mean about 30cm square or less.

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