A factory close to us was demolished some years back with the intention that the area would be redeveloped. Then came the economic recession and the redevelopment – grand hotel, leisure facilities etc – never arrived and the areas was simply left to nature – waste ground?
Nature abhors a vacuum – so said Aristotle though in a context quite different to the grounds of a former iron foundry – and wildflowers slowly but surely began to occupy the site. It was quite a challenging one for any plant given the amount of concrete which was simply pulverised and spread on the site. However, year after year, the wildflowers gained further foothold and the area without growth has shrunk. The list of occupants is more than I wish to write here but one has especially delighted me – the Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera.
Although it is widespread across the country it is still relatively rare and it is still a thrill to come on such a beautiful and appealing plant. I dropped in for a visit to this site this evening, a quick visit, and I certainly didn’t scour the area in a style where I could say I had scanned for all the Bee orchids there but I found well in excel of sixty in less than half the area and have every reason that there are far more to be found and enjoyed.
It is a feature of Bee orchids that they make an out of the blue appearance in an area where they have not grown previously. It is, to me at least, inexplicable how they appear in big numbers when none at all have been recorded previously in the area. Unfortunately, another of their features is that they can vanish from an area – though they generally reappear within a few years again.
For the moment, I am happy to enjoy them while they are here for this is not waste ground but the location of some of our most beautiful wildflowers.
Click on the first photograph to see all in larger format as a slideshow: