With the ongoing London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it would be easy to think that the UK is too busy to notice wildflowers right now. But the Brits have long been avid gardeners, and they certainly have noticed this year’s bumper crop of native orchids. A mild winter followed by a warm spring and copious rains have helped produce record numbers of Bee Orchids, Common Spotted Orchids, and Southern Marsh Orchids, among others. The Guardian even offers details on how to grow beautiful Bee Orchids in British lawns (hint: don’t use any fertilizers, herbicides, or moss killers.) The Irish Times describes a similar bumper orchid crop nearby in Ireland.
Most of these native terrestrial varieties, like Bee Orchids, have been more common in Mediterranean countries. Climate change has encouraged their northward spread, and now they are even appearing in southern Scotland where they were once rare. While the strange weather has benefited a few plants, many others, including farmers’ crops, have struggled. Despite this year’s orchid abundance, it’s worth remembering that these orchid species need very specialized growing conditions, and will die if they are dug up or transplanted. All are protected by conservation laws, so don’t harvest these crops.
Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, In the News, Orchids in the Wild