I’ve been a little worried that this wonderful hot weather will make our orchids go over earlier than I hoped.
It’s been another phenomenal year for orchids on our Waun Las hay meadows. There have been thousands of orchids – greater butterfly, southern marsh, common spotted and heath spotted.
I’ve been running Wales Wildflower Day here at the Garden for quite a few years, and every year, the orchids are our star turns.
They have charisma, a sense of the exotic and when you get to know them and their ecology, you’ll know that their presence can also signify that the nature around them is in a healthy state – they certainly tell us that we’re managing our hay meadows well. I used to be a professional botanist but before I moved down to Wales, I had never seen butterfly orchids before.
Michael Isaac, who will be running one of our walks on Wales Wildflower Day, took a group of 17 visitors to see our top hay meadow on Sunday and he reports that whilst some have gone over, there are still plenty left.
So for this year’s Wales Wildflower Day, which happens this upcoming Sunday 25th June, maybe I should relax. I’ve sorted out a floor plan of stallholders in the Great Glasshouse and placed signs in fields giving the English and Welsh names of wildflowers. I’m chuffed to have three tour guides making their debut here – Carmarthenshire’s county butterfly recorder Dave Bannister, Llangain farmer Peter Beeden and Marie Evans, who’ll be delivering our first Welsh language wildflower walk. I’m also chuffed to have just booked a wildflower henna artist so I reckon people of all ages and interests should have a great time, especially if it stays sunny.
I should just worry that we’ll get a good turnout, that stallholders will turn up on time, that science and art university students from Bournemouth and Swansea will have a good time and that I don’t forget wildflower names when I run my own guided walk at 3pm. I’ve chosen to look at weeds but, I hear you ask, what is a weed? An adventurous wildflower? A plant in the wrong place? An unwelcome guest or just an unexpected, fascinating newcomer? Come along and find out.