Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Chalk downland glories

It's just a personal view, but I think that the thin dry soil of the Chalk Downlands provides one of the most glorious habitats in Britain, the equal of ancient woodlands and peat rivers. Sometimes it is covered with the usual suspects, but sometimes an extra marvel appears - in this case (at Cow Gap, under Beachy Head) a scattering of Bee Orchids.

Jolly little things, aren't they - I found 21 spikes in two separate areas, and they were all of the pale chlorantha variety, quite different from the normal form that was shown last year, at Pegwell.
Credit goes to WN McLeod's book Downland in Flower for the varietal identification.
What else was about?
Common Blue


Quaking Grass

Yellow Rattle

Burnet Rose, just poking through the low vegetation including, appropriately, Salad Burnet.
Its Latin name is Rosa spinosissima, reflecting its spiny stems.


abbey meadows said...

Cracking shots of some of my favourite plants. We even have Bee orchids up here though they are rare and probably a couple of weeks yet before they flower.

NW Nature Nut said...

The Bee Orchids are wonderful. I love to see the flowers you have in Britian. I have the Quaking Grass in my garden as an ornamental. Is it grown there as an ornamental too? Lovely photos today.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the comments -

AM, I look forward to seeing pictures of the northern Bees;

NW, I'm not aware of ornamental Quaking Grass but I'm no gardener....as it's only 6" tall in the wild I assume that a larger cultivar is used?

Mary said...

I'd say your chalk downs certainly provide a lot of beauty! I love the orchid and can certainly see how it got its name! All the other plants are beautiful, too. Very nice post.

me ann my camera said...

How interesting that you have Yellow Rattle for I found that wildflower here in NB last year. It was the first I had ever seen it. I have been watching the location where I had found it now, every few days, in hopes that I can find it again.

John Young said...

Itching to get out myself Tony, although the weekend weathr doesn't look to good but hopefully not too windy. Good to know that bee orchids are in flower.