A Very Fussy Orchid and Acid Yellow Spikes

I don’t often write about wildflowers but as I’d never seen these two before I thought I would stick them in.

White Helleborine

I attended a workshop last week arranged by Dorset Environmental Records Office to learn the basics of biological recording. My trainers were two very experienced naturalists, John Newbould and Peter Hatherley and they decided to base the workshop in Corfe Mullen.

It was Peter who remembered seeing White Helleborine growing at the beech tree avenue next to Badbury Rings outside Wimborne, Dorset. He hadn’t been back to the site for many years, so, as it was only a 10 minute drive away from Corfe Mullen, we went to have a look.

Amazingly they were still there and we counted at least 50 stems in quite a small area. This beautiful white orchid is VERY fussy about where it grows. It loves to have it’s roots in the shade of beech trees growing on chalky soils, and that’s exactly what it’s got at the beech avenue.

The flowers don’t really open much more than the picture above. They are a gorgeous milky-white which contrasts against the vivid green stems and leaves. I apologise now for the bad photo but it was pretty dark under the trees and this was the best I could do (excuses, excuses!).

Second is another wild flower this time of dry grassy meadows and downland, this one was growing in the wild flower fields surrounding the ancient Badbury Rings themselves.

Wild Mignonette

It’s called Wild Mignonette, which I personally think is a great name for a flower. It was standing about a foot high (but can get a lot bigger) with these large yellow spikes of flowers on single stems. The acidic yellow/green of the flowers stood out against the grasses in the meadow and as I photographed it skylarks were singing their little hearts out all around me (I must have counted at least 10).

Why oh why can’t May last for more than one month? There’s too much to see in just 31 days!

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11 thoughts on “A Very Fussy Orchid and Acid Yellow Spikes

  1. I know just what you mean, it all seems to happen at once in May, and it’s a great garden month when all the gaps fill in and everything is growing vigorously and blooms are everywhere. Lovely photos, I shall park up and take ‘the dog’ for a walk next time I go that way!

  2. Hi Herm. My garden is growing quicker than I can keep up with. The weeds are taking over! I’ve been tackling them this morning, piles of them, one bed down only six to go. Jane x

  3. Hi Jane, Thanks for the posting of the Wild Heleborine, I didn’t know they were at Badbury, only seen tme once before and as you say wonderful. Shame you don’t post more on botanical studies, they can be fascinating, sadly I spent too many years ignoring botany in favour of biological conservation (basically a lot of statistics!!!) at university to know much about it. If you can next month pop up onto Hod Hill, Yellow Rattle another indicator of undisturbed and ancient areas and a plethora of vetches, plus of course Adonis Blue’s and Yellowhammers to liven the day.

  4. Hi Dragonstar. Yes it’s a lovely month. I think it has to be my favourite… we should merge May/June and make a new month called Mane (then we’d have longer to appreciate everything!). Jane

  5. Border Reiver. I should post more botanical stuff I suppose, but somehow the wildlife seems to take over. I guess that’s where my love really lies. Don’t get me wrong I have a deep love for “plants” (especially old trees) but to be honest the rest of my family are more interested in botanical stuff than me… Seeing a snake slithering away under a bush or watching a young fledgling feeding from it’s mum, that’s what really does it for me. However, I promise to add a few more interesting or rare botanics in the future! Jane

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