Round the side of the house is a very dry area under trees that is simply provides a link between front and back gardens and is also useful as the place where pots of lilies are placed to grow to flowering and then to recover afterwards (when in flower they are artistically placed in the main beds for all to enjoy).
This week, shooting up from a very dry and particularly bare patch of soil covered with pine needles and bits of bark from the firewood pile J spotted an unusual plant, but being of a botanical frame of mind, rather than whip it out as a weed she wondered what it was.
It’s an orchid – a wild orchid. Gosh, were we excited! A bit of sleuthing and we found that it is Epipactis helleborine (a.k.a. Broad-leaved Helleborine) … but sadly, we also learned that is an alien species in North America, albeit one of long pedigree having been brought here around 1878-1880 depending on which source you accept. Not only that but it is very adaptable and is found widely dispersed, especially in the north east … almost a weed in fact.
Searching our archives we noted that we had seen it before with one appearing in the front drainage ditch back in 2000. The roots are sporadic flowerers and can lie dormant for several years until conditions are just right.
Either way, nice to be giving a home to a wild orchid of any sort.