Thursday, 28 June 2012

Ancient grassland, wild orchids and a charming young man.

 During the autumn last year, a young man in the village opened his garden to the public.    A grower of native wild orchids and many other plants, I was so looking forward to meeting him.   I was his only visitor :(     On arrival we had tea and biscuits.   We sat in his warm cosy kitchen, whilst his wife cooked and his two young boys played happily.  He asked about my garden etc, and knew where I lived.   He suggested I let part of the grass grow to see if there were any secrets trapped beneath the soil.
 I was thrilled last week to see that Fairy Flax had appeared.   It is a marker of ancient, flower rich, unimproved grassland.  So exciting,  this is a project that I know I am going to enjoy.
Anyway, needless to say, I bought several wild orchids from the young man.
He explained that orchids are unpredictable, and sometimes take several years to flower.
I have learned patience.......so you can imagine how delighted and surprised I was to see the Marsh Helleborine in bloom.
 I planted her in the bog garden last autumn.     One of our most beautiful native plants, she stands out from the rest.  Much less common these days, in fact, in some areas very rare.
A lover of damp meadow,  and wet marshy habitat, I am hoping it will do well here.

I also bought Southern Marsh Orchid, Broad-leaved Helleborine and Ladies Tresses.

Broad-leaved Helleborine has made an appearance but is not in bloom yet.   I am hoping she will in the next few weeks.

Sadly, many of our native wildflowers are disappearing.   Imagine my joy, when the young man told me, when an area is being cleared and wild orchids are cast aside, he drives to the location and rescues as many plants as he can.   I was inspired by his passion for his subject, his love of our native flora, that I left him feeling  totally elated.   Very often, young people get bad press but we never hear about the good ones.   The ones that go the extra mile.
I shall keep in touch with this young man....he has a dream, as I did when I was his age.
I have been blessed to have reached many of my goals, but still have some to conquer.

Unless we dream, then how can they come true??

23 comments:

  1. What a treat to meet a like-minded youngster. No doubt his energy is infectious. The Fairy Flax is sweet and the Helleborine is great. I love the little yellow invitation on it's lips inviting pollinators. Lucky you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa,

      Yes, very infectious.
      I like the frilly white tip on the Helleborine, so pretty.
      I could not get a photograph that did it justice. It is so tiny, and laying on my stomach, with my camera in hand, is not the best positions these days. The area is also very wet, so I will leave you to use your imagination, as to what I looked like when I had finished :)

      Delete
  2. How fascinating Cheryl! He sounds like a great guy and I would love to visit his garden some day and maybe pick up a few orchids while I am there. :)
    I find it so sad that many of our wild flowers are becoming rarer, even here in this rich chalk grassland habitat which is famed for its rare orchids, they are not always easy to find. People are starting to realise their importance though, I have noticed a few roadsides and verges planted with wild flowers by the council in the last couple of years where before was just grass.
    The helleborine is a stunner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lucinda,

      I will let you know if he opens his gardens again. I would think it would be in the autumn, because that is the best time to plant.

      I scatter seeds in the autumn. I collect seeds from my wildflowers that are native to this area, and when I walk Nella I throw them on the rough ground. There are little bits of my garden all around this area :)

      I think you are right, things are changing, people are becoming more aware. My neighbour has just cleared a large area and scattered wildflower seed. She is not a gardener but is concerned about the bees :)

      Delete
  3. What a shame that no one else took advantage of his open garden - glad you enjoyed your visit. I have tried sowing wildflowers in my own garden, not too successfully, I might add - it isn't as easy as Mother Nature makes out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elaine,

      I felt very sorry for the young man. I suppose growing native orchids is not going to appeal to everyone.

      My house is very old, you would assume that a garden would have surrounded it during the period it was built. I am hoping that at some point, wild orchids will appear, of their own accord :)

      Delete
  4. Oh, what a shame. I would have enjoyed visiting and learning from that young man. I know that part of our land had previously been pasture for as long as ordnance survey maps have been drawn. I am very tempted now to let some of it just grow. I keep it fairly wild to encourage wildlife, but perhaps I need to go one step further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elaine,

      I must confess, I would not have let the grass grow but I can now clearly see the advantages. I shall cut it down in autumn, then let it grow again next Spring. I have been amazed at just how many insects frequent the area. Although there are hardly any flowers, and it it a tiny area they seem to be drawn to it.
      Interesting.

      Delete
  5. I was not familiar with the wild orchids, but looking at the close-up photos, I can see how they received their name. It's wonderful that it's doing so well in your garden, Cheryl, but I'm not surprised--I think they found the perfect home. Your young man sounds like a kindred spirit, Cheryl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rose,

      To be honest I was concerned when I got them home. He told me to plant, and leave....not to worry about them. I did not water, just straight into the soil.
      Easy gardening :)

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful wild orchid. And how exciting that your own wild patch has already produced a fairy flax. Will be interesting to see what appears next. Good to know that the young man is protecting our native orchids as their habitats are destroyed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Crystal,

      Marsh Helleborine is beautiful. I just hope it stays....

      I like the wild patch, not sure my husband does.....keeps asking when I am going to cut it down :)

      Wonderful young man, we need more like him.

      Delete
  7. How nice for you to have made this young man's acquaintance. He sounds like a rare gem. And I love his words "see what secrets lie beneath the grass...." Ohhhh - I think he's a beautiful spirit and so connected to Mother Nature.

    How exciting to find a fairy flax! She is so pretty. And your wild orchids are blooming beautifully. Nice that you left some with this young man.

    I hope you see the broad-leafed helleborine bloom before long. Ladies tresses? What an intriguing name for a plant. I will look forward to seeing pictures of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy,

      Very nice young man, I wish there were more like him. Truth be known there probably are :)

      Delete
  8. The Marsh Helleborine is so very pretty! Love the fairy flax. I love this project, Cheryl. What an inspiring young man you have met. What passion to go and rescue plants:) xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am looking forward to see what appears in the 'meadow' (if anything)

      Delete
  9. It is so heartening that your 'charming young man' has such vision! I do hope there are more like him. Such a shame he didn't receive more visitors but of course he has now through your blog, please tell him, when you see him, that he has a number of fans now ;-)

    How very special to have the Marsh Helleborine doing so well and the others still to come and Fairy Flax too!! Wonderful! I read that it is 'a delicate plant of mostly dry grassland' and as I believe you said your garden is on a flood plain it is such a precious plant to have discovered!

    I love that you scatter seeds of our native plants in the wild Cheryl, you truly are 'giving something back' :-)

    Have a wonderful weekend dear Cheryl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jan,

      I will be sure to do that. I emailed him a photograph of the Helleborine today, I am sure he will be pleased at least one is blooming.

      Yes, I read that to. I was surprised to see the fairy flax.
      I am a mile away from the flood plain. Our home is surrounded by ditches, which takes the water down to the river. If we have a wet winter, the garden looks more like wetland, and the water does not go away quickly.
      We also have a well in the garden, an old well......the water is crystal clear.

      I love to scatter seeds and have done so for as long as I can remember. Poppi is following in her Grandmothers footsteps :)

      Have a wonderful weekend Jan and I do so hope you were not affected by the severe flooding and storms yesterday.

      Delete
  10. Dear Cheryl,
    When I was sick I could not dig and plant like I once did and part of my gardens went
    wild. The grasses grew and they were amazing. So many of our small butterflies like the grasses. I still try to keep a small wild spot...now that my husband and I garden together the wild spots are more maintained!
    I read Monet would let his gardens "go wild" every few years to see the colors Mother Nature put together...
    This is a charming story. Your young neighbor has an old soul.....Like Wendy I enjoy his "see what secrets lie beneath the grass."
    The weather has been so very wild...It is very hot and dry here.
    I am giving water to the bugs and birds.
    Love seeing the wild orchids and the grasses.
    Sherry

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a warm and uplifting story. Isn't it wonderful to meet young people with values and compassion for Mother Nature? Glad the flowers are thriving. Of course, they wouldn't dare not blossom for you. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi - Just to let you know that I am passing on the 'One Lovely Blog Award' to you in recognition of your Lovely Blog - I will understand if you don't accept it but if you go to my blog at http://awomanofthesoil.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/one-lovely-blog-award.html then you will see what the conditions of acceptance are.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a wonderful post! Our wild lands are disappearing, too. It's so frustrating. I love his attitude - to see what treasures lie beneath the soil. I'm so glad there are people like him, and you, for appreciating his wisdom. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cheryl what an inspiring post, fascinating experiment and lovely surprise with the orchid. These are wildflowers I never seem to see

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.