Now is time to see beautiful orchids
Kent is one of the best counties to see a range of rare orchids, especially on the chalk grasslands of the Kent Downs. I would recommend getting out to one of your local nature reserves to enjoy and photograph them.
One chalk grassland reserve is at Parkgate near Elham, which is managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust, which has a wonderful display of orchids including fly orchids and the monkey orchids. The monkey orchids are unusual in the orchid world as it starts to flower from the top down, compared to other orchids which first open their flowers from the bottom up.
The monkey orchids are named due to the wonderful flowers which are shaped a little bit similar to little monkeys, with thin arms and legs and a tail. However, the fly orchids are a little bit simpler in style, but still retaining the elegance, in that it is an orchid on a spike. The fly orchid releases pheromones which attracts male digger wasps which pollinates the orchid. Fly orchid is a more woodland edge orchid and can survive in dappled shade, but will disappear with total shade.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk
A monkey orchid