Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Orchids, Orchids and other stuff

Beautiful "Escarp No.8" a Palans variety of Epipactis atrorubens (Click over to enlarge)

So I guess it's were do I start because so much has been going on over the past few days, but in the main its all been about the Orchids.

The birds have been really quiet, I have managed to hear the Whitethroat on most days, and the odds and sods of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers and also the local Marsh Tits.  Odd Green Woodpeckers.

The Butterflies have been good but I do wish this rain and wind would stop and allow them to go about there business properly!  For them it's been a stop start stop start! We have had cracking hatches of Ringlet they seem to be all over the place at the moment. I had my first of the year Grayling yesterday (3rd July 2017) which is well early, I don't normally get my first until the middle of July, also had Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and lots and lots of Dark Green Fritillary - one actually landed on my coat and rested up for about 15 seconds so could not have got better close up views.  Also large hatches of Meadow Browns. Other butterflies included Large Skippers, Red Admirals (must be their best year for ages!), just the occasional Small Tortoiseshell. I think the Dinghy Skippers will have finished now but we have had a good few this year.

I have been up on Hutton Roof most days studying the fabulous array of orchids which are coming through. Although lots are being predated with the Brown Hare, Roe Deer and slugs, yet so far thankfully not the aphids (been too wet for them! I would imagine). The predators have taken some of our specials but in general I think we have done better than most past years (so far! lets hope it stays that way).

I guess one really special Orchid which I did find a week or so ago is the green "Palans" type of variety of the Dark Red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) I have posted a close up photo at the top of the page and below here is how the flower was looking yesterday (3rd July)

"Escarp No.8" taken on 3rd July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
This is such a special plant and you don't see many of these.  Its only the second that has come through on Hutton Roof while I have been studying the orchids.  I also believe that there have only ever been a handful or less of them throughout the UK over the years.

This next one is a "pearler" I found it yesterday and without doubt it meets the criteria of a perfect Schmal and for now it is called "Escarp 10" (here are a couple of photos of the beauty...

Escarp 10 a brand new to me Schmal and below a close-up
Escarp 10 (Click over to enlarge)
The area were I found this is producing several great plants.  You can probably guess from the names they are on a "escarpment".  This particular plant has a good yield of beautiful dark burgundy flowers which are going all around the light green stem.  Together with the fact it has lovely shaped "Helliborine" leaves.  So here we have a good mix of both the atroruben and the helleborine giving indication of it being a hybrid and subsequently named "Epipactis Schmalhuasenii".

Also here is a much smaller plant of only about 10" but a little beauty and again highlighted by the fact of the very light coloured green stem.

"Escarp 8" (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: taken 2nd July 2017
This one below I also found a few days ago but went back again yesterday to get this photo. It's very colourful and it has the same make up of Specimen 11 (adult Schmal first recorded by us back in 2014).  Although the plant does live about 100 yards further East than its parent it would be in a direct line of how you could expect the seed to blow.

Specimen 11b (Schmal likely) taken 3rd July 2017
I just could not do my blog without showing my favourite "Lempett" variety or Specimen No.55 which is a beautiful Lemon-Petalled variety.  Each year it has gone from strength to strength and now stands at 20" high and has 40 flowers (although good we do have one at present on HR which has a record of 62 flowers). Here are three photos showing the full flower and then part flowers.

Showing Specimen 55 full flower (Click over)
Photo taken 2nd July 2017
No.55 on very dark green stem (Click over to enlarge)
Photo taken 2nd July 2017
No.55 another view of the petal/sepal undersides
Photo taken 2nd July 2017
And just in case you have forgot just what colours you might expect from a straight forward atrorubens here are a couple of examples:

or if you want to see one which is coming through even darker what about this then!

I guess if they all came through like this we should
really be calling them "Purpurea".
I have taken perhaps a hundred or so more photos of these splendid plants and have for now only selected what I may think some of the best.  But to be honest with you each years brings more and more beauty and pleasant surprises and Hutton Roof is a very very special orchid place with lots of mysterious stuff going on eg: hybrids, some bold some little weak and frail but hybrids or F1's (breed backs) or something is going on.  And if not hybrid there can be lots of variety taking shape as well.

Can't wait for this rain to clear so that I can get out among them!

To finish this is a poem I wrote last year:

The Norm has become the Rarity!

My dearest Hutton Roof,
A special place for Epipactis and a place where
The straight forward has become the rarity
And the rarity has become the norm.

Rubens or Borines which do you want?
A Schmalhauseneii mix for you Sir!
Today can be the purple wash,
Tomorrow can be the green wash.

But we have some green ovary specials,
With a brownier flower to bear and stare,
Called No.9, 9a,9b,9c and so on and on and on
And away until they are gone!

We have some Lemon Petalled beauties,
Small, mediums and largest and blessed,
Green stems or purple stems we have the mix,
Stunning our pupil since 2014 that’s young

What about a Palens Ma’am,
In Lutescens mix or you can have a green cream flavour,
Both are staring “wimperley” but this is only part
Of a start of something far more special.

Here we have the very first on English soil I am told,
Called “Albiflora” and what a little gem it was
It lacks a lot of colour dear “Albi” green and  white,
I even looked through transparency at some of its sight!

Make a path to the bottom of this hill
Where flowers of purpurea live out their days,
It’s a sort of red wine colour they display some years,
Darker with canopy, lighter with sun.

To my North I can see a Helliborine change
Which is so pale and bright!
Often called a special or by name a
Chlorantha’s sight.

Bryan Yorke – 14th July 2016