Tuesday, September 25, 2018

return of the wild orchids

It is wonderful to come back to the Dordogne in May after a long wet and cold winter.  Spring was suddenly unusually warm and now everything is in flower - roses, roses everywhere. There is a two foot high wild sage stem on the slope up to no: 8 green.

But the greatest news is that the wild orchids are back, the first wave of lazy purples, pyramid and scented orchids deep in the long grass near juniper bushes. The small meadow blue and brown butterflies, the occasional large white, hover around.

For some time now, ever since the juniper bushes on that rocky slope of land we refer to as 'Greece', started to die we saw less and less orchids.  There appears to be a strange form of symbiosis between junipers, orchids and ants, so the nearness of ant heaps and orchids to juniper roots would seem to indicate.

To my joy I saw the first orchids underneath young junipers along the fence of the horse fields.

The horse fields are still truly wild - because none of the La Chaise based golf fanatics have put a green on them.   Also it is several years since horses last pastured there and our 28 odd sheep and a random number of lambs in season make little impact on the two hectares.   Vetch and clover flourish, some cornflowers can be seen and, of course, 'horse-flowers' abound, known in other languages as 'lion's teeth' for their serrated leaves, edible when very young.