Perhaps O should really be for obsession, as it seems I have a bit of an obsession for orchids: they have featured in no fewer than nine blog posts this year. Early-purple orchids were the first to flower back in May, followed soon afterwards by the Common spotted-orchids, which also featured in a second post in late June about the variation in their colours and markings. Also in June, the Bee orchids showed their jolly faces, and I tried to get to grip with identifying Southern marsh-orchids. In July, more orchid species that like damp places were in the spotlight, first the Heath spotted-orchids of Aberbargoed, followed soon after by Rhoose Quarry’s magnificent Marsh helleborines. The late-summer-blooming Broad-leaved helleborines featured on the first day of August, and the first days of autumn were brightened by the sight of spiralling Autumn lady’s-tresses. What a feast for the senses these flowers are!
If you live in or around or anywhere near Cardiff and you like orchids, then get yourself down to Ferry Road in Cardiff Bay, because there is a Bee orchid fiesta happening right now, and probably for the next few weeks.
It’s completely free. All you have to do is walk along the pavement on the west side of the road adjacent to the Cardiff Bay Retail Centre and look at the verge, because the good folks who manage the Retail Centre agreed to stop mowing said verge this spring, and the result is an explosion of Bee orchids.
I kid you not! One of the council’s community rangers did a count yesterday and reckons there are over 800 spikes, many of which are not yet in bloom. It is seriously amazing, and just shows what botanic marvels are in our road verges if the councils and corporations would just let them grow.
I was delighted yesterday, as I walked up the west paddock at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, to spot my first two flowering Common spotted orchids of the year. This is just the beginning of what will, I’m sure, be another stunning display, as both the east and west paddocks are usually awash with orchids in the summer months.