For most of the year they are hidden, their narrow leaves looking like the grass that they grow amongst, but as we approach mid summer and the birds fade into the bushes, orchids flower. Amongst the pot pourri of plain yellow flowers, short spikes of pink and purple appear. My bee orchids always fascinate with their structure, a crown of normal pink petals displaying the central suede cherry. Getting down on my knees the detail in the centre is remarkable. A vivid red tongue is surmounted by a short green hood with fur cushions on each side. The cherry I saw from a distance is now delicately marbled.
I call these my orchids because they grow on my front lawn. They were not planted their, they simply appeared. This piece of grass measures about 5 by 3 metres, smaller than the smallest official nature reserve. Managed like a traditional hay meadow, it is home to yellow rattle, cowslip and grasshoppers as well as my orchids.
All of the neighbours have neat, closely mown sheets of velvet. To me, my orchids are far more attractive.