The Bee Orchids Flowered Again

The bee orchids flowered again; two out of the three plants, just like last year. It’s always exciting to see such a complex looking flower, more so when it’s sitting in a pot next to your door. They seeded and died down as usual and only the non-flowering one releafed again last autumn…at least at first….the other two finally made an appearance, but look small. Anyway, they definitely don’t always die after flowering which is interesting.


After 2014’s stunning failure to grow yellow-rattle, I scattered the seed of some eyebright I’d found in a car-park a few years back and it germinated, sat there quietly all summer 2015 and then suddenly was absolutely charming and full of flower towards the end of the year. Fingers crossed it has reseeded itself for 2016.


Some white clover germinated  – don’t know where the seed came from – but I decided to let it grow and grow it did. And grow and grow. It tumbled down the pot, flowered, the bees visited and I got cold feet about it and decided it was unbalancing everything; its leaves were so numerous that it dried the pot out quickly and it dominated so. I cut its top growth off to kill it, but left the roots in the compost so everything else wasn’t disrupted. They’ll rot off soon enough.

Other than that…mixed bag really. The silver hair-grass was much smaller this year, but the meadow oat-grass is gaining steadily and the quaking grass looked well. The thrift is gradually browning and dieing – not sure why, but they tend not to like being in a pot for any length of time. The small scabious flowered…just.

My Fritilaria uva-vulpis appeared and then all but one looked poorly and failed to grow or open properly. I’m not really expecting to see them this year; I wonder whether they caught a rot or just that they dried out at a crucial point – I’m not the most consistent waterer.


So, out of 26 species planted and another 11 that were either sown or turned up, I now have 16 left although there may be some hiding as seeds yet to germinate.


Verdict so far: I’m enjoying it…the decisions you make are similar to those in a real garden and it’s not been much hassle to maintain, although I think you would say it was more interesting than decorative…bit like its owner then.

Also I would like to point out that if I lived somewhere hot that peeling paint on the doorstep would be like totally fabulously shabby-chic and anyone reading this would be all…”I sooo love that doorstep in the south of France” rather than being completely judgemental about my lack of doorstep painting ability.

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