Plenty of visitors came up to see the orchids this weekend, despite the wind & rain. I counted around 140-150 hybrids in full flower plus 1 Lady orchid. They are still mainly in the same square on the slope (A1) but there are a few outliers to the west and south, with a growing colony of healthy plants pushing into the woods outside the rabbit fence. We even found a potential hybrid seedling on the steps up through the woods!
Monkey orchids seem to be coming out nicely and most plants are fairly large and strong. There are still quite a few in bud so please watch where you are treading because they are very easy to miss and we want as many as possible to set seed this year. The colony is recovering from a succession of bad Springs (2 droughts followed by 1 exceptionally cold & prolonged) so plants on the more exposed southern face have been suffering disproportionately. There are a few flowering in this part of the slope but we have taken the decision to cordon this area off to allow the slope to recover without disturbance this year.
One Monkey orchid has been seen in flower in the first field, just down from the bench, but please be very careful not to tread on it because it is difficult to see. It seems to be the only flowering plant in this field this year. There are 2 more Monkey orchids below the beech tree on slope 4 with one in good flower. This satellite colony also suffered badly in the drought years so we hope that they will recover over the coming years.