In the shade of a pine tree and under the Kolkwitzia a rare beauty has bloomed. Single flowers have been spotted before in my garden, but this year there are six or seven of these strange plants.
The German name is lovely: Weiße Waldvöglein
Weiß is white, and Waldvöglein is a little woodland bird.
This member of the orchid family prefers chalky limestone soil – exactly what we have here. It is very shy of the sun, and since it is autogamous, i.e. it self-pollinates, it does not depend on insects and is able to flower in very deep shade. In fact the ivory coloured flowers hardly ever really open enough to expose the yellow lip.
In Sarah Raven’s “Wild Flowers” she writes that its pale and somewhat ghostly appearance and upright stance is like “a strait-laced librarian… a spinster who turns herself out neatly in public”!
I have read that the plants take at least eight years to develop from seed, and it can take up to two or three years after that for a flower to form. Although not endangered in Germany, it is therefore a rare find. I’m very pleased that it has found a suitable place in my garden so that I can enjoy it!
Have you ever spotted any rarities in or near your garden?
A pleasantly warm 18°C (64°F), but the sun is scarce today…
The poppies have been flattened a bit by rain, but they still add lovely specks of colour. And now the Sweet Williams and the Red Valerian are starting to open too.
And an extra picture today… many of you have heard of the floods in Germany at the moment. Today I crossed the River Danube, and stopped to look down at the river bank. As you can see, the parking area is still under water, and the current is really swift. No pleasure boats can run – they have all been safely moored on the canal nearby – and the cycle paths along the river have been closed.
Our immediate area was not too badly hit, but only a few kilometres further down the River Danube the waters have caused massive problems for thousands of families. Now all eyes are on the River Elbe in the east and north, where the floods are heading towards Hamburg and then end up in the North Sea.
Let’s hope for some dry weather in central Europe over the next couple of weeks so the floods can recede and the clearing up process can continue.