Orchids in the Plym Valley

South Devon National Trust Volunteers were in the Plym Valley yesterday helping the Rangers with their annual orchid count and some Himalayan Balsam pulling.

The lower meadow at Plym Bridge is managed for its wild flowers and includes the Southern Marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa).

Despite the heavy rain, that stayed all day, a determined group of volunteers and Rangers scoured the meadow and successfully found 99 orchids.

A sea of bloom

This year the bluebells, wild garlic, hawthorn and wood anemone are flowering together at Plymbridge Woods, providing us with a breathtaking array of scent and colour.

 

 

The aromatic properties of bluebells and wild garlic are used by animals such as badgers; they collect the leaves at this time of the year to line their setts. It is thought the greenery deters insects such as mites from infesting their vulnerable young.

Britain holds more than half of the world’s population of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and the majority are found in broadleaved woodland or scrub.

Flower Power

To mention an interest of flowers in many circles is to perform social suicide. An aesthetic appreciation of landscapes however seems to be more acceptable. Only last week we had a group of work men from Plymouth volunteering with us. One bloke whilst looking across the teign gorge turned to his collegues and announced, “its alright here init”. Which was greeted with sage agreeement. Would that have happened had he pointed at a primrose?! but what about the flower as a landscape? I have yet to see even the most dissimissive of people fail to appreciate a British bluebell wood in spring.

In these parts there is an altogether rarer beast, the wild daffodil. I tracked my prey to a known hotspot Dunsford Woods and was not disappointed as the photo testifies. So get down to Dunsford wood in the next couple of weeks, but only if you’re man enough!
Flowers