Sometimes a plant arrives in the garden in just the right place. While the vast majority of unplanned arrivals are weeds, just occasionally something unexpectedly pops up that warrants inclusion, something we hadn’t bargained for, but which is just right.

There is a local park at the bottom of my road. Originally a small Victorian estate, it contains a collection of rhododendrons, ornamental trees, and wild flowers. Among the latter are British native orchids. Five years ago, in a planting basket in my pond, a couple of the orchids appeared. They were the common spotted orchid, dactylorhiza fuschsii. Since then, numbers have slowly increased, with twenty appearing last year.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii - 2018

The upward tend has halted this year, with fifteen making an appearance in the pond. But elsewhere, another has popped up in the middle of a path of wood chips.

Wikipedia records it is “widespread across much of Europe” and “typical habitats are conifer, beech and chestnut forests, moderately wet meadows, bogs and margins of streams.” Although it is said to prefer calcareous conditions, it is pretty adaptable and grows happily in the slightly acid soil here.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii (close-up) - 2018

So now I have it growing in aquatic compost and chipped wood growing mediums. I wonder if it will find somewhere else next year?


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