We are used to seeing wild flowers in abundance here in the heart of rural France. In country walks in previous years I have noticed foliage in the grass which I was sure were orchids but each year we have visited we have either been too early or too late.
Having moved here perminately we are looking forward to filling some of the many gaps in our knowledge of the area, including the mystery of the wild orchids.
Showing the garden off to visiters last week I noticed the same foliage in the grass of the back garden. One tuft was growing in a patch of ground I had strimmed and burn off, the site of our log cabin; another was in part of a gastly old concrete water feature which I plan to remove some time this year.
Today I decided to move them to safty. I dug a large plug of soil including an orchid in the centre and planted them in similar sized sockets dug out of the ground close to one of our new Cherry trees.
Now we just have to wait to see if our plant, and the hundreds in the fields around us, turn out to be orchids after all. My theory? Pyramid Orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, but we will see.
The UK has a huge range of wild orchids itself, of course and they can appear in the most unexpected places. Here is a shot I took of one in the middle of a camping exhibition in a field used by a busy garden centre in Hertfordshire. Bee orchid, Ophrys apifera.