3 days after our return from holidaying in Norfolk we received 10 tiny black caterpillars in a little parcel on the doorstep. We ordered two jars (1 each) of Painted Lady caterpillars to raise into butterflies from Insect Lore. We … Continue reading
Day 22 we headed to another of our favourite outdoor playgroups for a minibeast themed day. We heard the story of the hungry caterpillar, hunted for the matching wings for our butterfly, went hunting for real minibeasts, had a caterpillar … Continue reading
Today was a low key wild day. This afternoon while gardening we found a snail, we made friends… Our other wild news is… the bird feeder (made on Day 1) for wild birds is now being used, hooray! The chicken’s … Continue reading
Day 16 we headed to the zoo to visit some creatures from other countries. As you can imagine we saw all of the usual suspects including the lions up very close, E was not so sure, quite rightly so! We … Continue reading
Did you know that there are approximately 26,000 species of orchid on our Earth and approximately 50 of those can be found in the UK!?! Those of you that know me will know that I am more than a little fond of orchids, a BSc, a traineeship and a MSc later and I know more than a little about them!
At University I did my dissertation on the effects of climate change on UK orchid populations, there started the tiny orchid obsession…
Following my degree I became the specialist orchid trainee for the RHS at Wisley gardens taking responsibility for care of the huge orchid collection, displaying the most spectacular in the glasshouses for public viewing and assisting the RHS committee.
The year at Wisley also enabled me to see mass production of orchids in Holland, breeding in Jersey and get involved with orchid research in the field…. my first experiences of orchids native to the UK.While the blousy rare and travelled species found in the glasshouses at Wisley were both exciting and beautiful when I saw the Early Spider Orchid growing in the Sussex countryside for the first time I fell in love. These tiny inconspicuous plants would be easily missed but when you get down close (something you do a lot of when you have to count every single one within an area for 3 days) they are utterly amazing!
Following my year I made it my mission to see as many as possible and later topped it all off with a MSc in Plant Conservation so I could continue my research started during my BSc. 12 years on from the start of this tiny orchid obsession and I am no less excited by them, no less eager to discover them each year as they appear during their short flowering season.
We are coming to the end of the season, this year I have regretfully had less time to hunt for them but I have not done too badly. Below are some photos of the beauties I have seen this year, I hope they inspire you to look a little closer at the tiny things below your feet and maybe start your own tiny orchid obsession…