Early purples showed first, en masse. No orchid rivals them for abundance up here. Butterfly orchids appear and I search on Helsington Barrows and find a couple of fly orchids. Last summer I could find none. As I wander home I’m looking at the dark flowers of a sedge and thinking how at a glance it might be mistaken for a fly orchid. I’m searching the limestone clitter for dark red helleborine, budding, but not yet in flower, when I come upon another solitary fly orchid. Not sure I’d ever find that location again. So I photograph the site to be sure to seek it out next year.
The first fragrant orchid show. Delicate and fragrant it is.
How do you tell squinancywort from bedstraw? Down on your knees to inhale- it’s vanilla scented. Squinancywort: Asperula cynanchica. It's a woodruff.
Lady’s bedstraw is still in bud. The yellow flowers smell pleasantly of coumarin, Marjorie Blamey tells us. This is a season to be on your knees, down on the ground, sniffing. Last time I did that, to take photographs, three black Labradors came jumping all over me!
In the parkland habitat of Helsington Barrows there’s a mature oak tree I’ve come to know and love. Each year, I look to see if it has catkins. None this year. Some years it’s rich with them. I’ve tried to find out what’s going on here. If you know the answer I’d be glad to know it.