Two miracles took place today. The first was that I correctly identified a plant. The second was the plant itself. Perhaps I should have put that the other way round.
We’re all back from Alderney after an unforgettable week, and while we were away there’s been a serious attack of growth. In the fields the sugar beets that were little green shoots are now serious six-inch plants. The grass has leap skywards on our wild lawn and the vegetation on the marsh is so high we feel like small four-legged mammals as we pass through.
And a southern marsh orchid has leapt into existence from nothing and nowhere. We’ve had them on the marsh before, reasonably often, but here was one in the garden, just in front of the house on the fringe of the pond we had dug five years ago when we moved in.
A little purple spire, ascending to a modest heaven, deep and rich in colour, luxurious and modest at the same time, with all the understated charisma of British orchids. I’m no great shakes when it comes to botanical knowledge but I suspect thing plant sprang from hope. It was fertilised by the delight we all take in the little patch of land it is our privilege to guard.
It also sprang from the brilliance of my wife, Cindy, who invented a way of channelling the rainwater that falls on our roof so that it trickles and sometimes cascades into the pond, so that for the first time in years, some of the soil in front of the house is more or less permanently damp. It’s almost as if the flood-plain had been reunited with its river.
And remembering its past, the orchid has stretched its way up from the ground and it now stands there unassumingly among the
flags and the other — someone else can name them – water-adoring plants. Azure damselflies and a dragonfly, a four-spotted chaser, fizzed all around them. You can take pride in a lovely thing that you plant: but here was a lovely thing we didn’t plant. And that made it still lovelier.
Here’s Eddie’s blog: