By Victoria Plum
A well-attended annual general meeting at the Reepham & District Gardening Club this week included a diverting and hugely informative talk on wild orchids, (53 in this country) by Simon Harrop, who with his wife Anne runs Natural Surroundings at Bayfield near Holt.
This nature reserve, plant purveyor and good café can supply you with the unusual shrub, alder buckthorn, which we learned at last month’s talk on butterflies will attract the pretty brimstones, which are about just now.
The complex life of orchids was first investigated by Charles Darwin and, although much research has followed, there are still some mysteries to be unfolded.
Locally, you might see the greater butterfly-orchid at Foxley Wood, the rare fen orchid on the Broads, the early marsh orchid at Holme, creeping lady’s tresses at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea amongst the pines, the marsh helleborine at Beeston Common and the rare (only two or three sites in this country) military orchid at Barton Mills (the Rex Graham Reserve, usually open in late May).
Looking through my old notes I was reminded of a tip from another speaker, some years ago, to dissolve three grains of potassium permanganate in the watering can with which you water your newly sown seedlings as this will prevent mildew and moulds forming. (It will not prevent weeds though!)
Saturday 12 May sees the annual gardening club plant sale in Reepham Market Place and the next meeting on 15 May will feature a talk on “History Beneath your Feet”: items of archaeological interest you might find in your garden. A fascinating talk I have much enjoyed in the past.
Off I go now on my lily beetle patrol. Something is making mincemeat of my Fritillaria. Is it just the lily beetle or is something else attracted by these luscious leaves? Any observations? Please let me know.