More Summer Days…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

This is an extremely rare sight in the British countryside today, thousands upon thousands of orchids in a traditional hay meadow.Β  It’s not that hard to do, just lightly graze with cattle or sheep, don’t add any fertilisers or herbicides, and make hay in late summer, job done πŸ™‚

20 thoughts on “More Summer Days…”

    1. I know Jo it is a magnificent sight. There are 5 species of orchid in the field, most notably the butterfly orchid, and over 200,000 individuals. And to think the field used to be a rugby pitch for the army cadets! Better use of the land now I think πŸ™‚

  1. What is the relationship between the orchids and the hay? Do the orchids add nutrients to the soil or are they mainly there as food for pollinators? Or just to make our eyes happy πŸ™‚ ?

    1. The hay meadow management reduces soil fertility and so the orchids and loads of other species are able to thrive in the absence of vigorous rank grasses. It used to be a rugby pitch and after they started making hay there the orchids simply appeared and kept multiplying.

      1. There are a few species of orchid in the field including northern marsh orchid and greater butterfly orchid. We get bee orchids mostly on sand dunes and very short coastal grasslands

  2. Those traditional British hay meadows are just lovely. It is a pitty that people went more and more away from it. It is easy (and therefore probably on low costs) to maintain, it is good for the environment (what could be more valuable than caring for a healthy living space) and it just looks beautiful. I bet it smells wonderful, too, and you hear the sounds of all kinds of busy insects and other animals who live there.

    Thank you, Mike, for sharing the beauty. And kudos to the Mike who took the picture.

    Much love,
    Steffi

    1. Thanks Steffi, you have described the sensation of standing in the meadow perfectly. I remember being there last June and couldn’t believe my eyes such was the stunning beauty. Luckily Mike #2 was there too and was able to capture the memory forever πŸ™‚

      1. Luckily you both have been there and willing to share this memory. πŸ™‚
        Maybe one day I am seeing a place like this with my own eyes, too (and possibly bringing my camera along).

        By the way – you mentioned in an earlier post/ comment that you would be working at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines next. What became of that? It sounded very intriguing… (and I hope you don’t mind me asking.)

      2. Yes I have just finished drafting the management plan for the gold mines site. It has been another enriching experience working with so many committed and talented people. I must remember to post a little tour of the site. Unfortunately I haven’t got any photos of the underground mines as it was a bit too dark! But thanks for reminding me Steffi, I’ve got so many jobs on at the moment that I’d almost forgotten about it πŸ™‚

      3. Thanks for the update. πŸ™‚ Glad to read that you enjoyed working for the site Mike!

        I’d be curious to read about your experiences. ( – and am sure that for those of us who are interested it is possible to find some images on Google)
        But more importantly I want you to enjoy life and do everything at your pace. Many jobs means much joy but also much work so, no hurry. πŸ˜‰

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