Archive for the 'Great Dixter' Category
Another spring time orchid that grows in our area, the green winged orchid is in my experience harder to find than the early purple orchid, unless one goes to a protected grassland such as the meadows at Great Dixter, in Northiam, where they grow in large numbers.
Although superficially similar to the early purple orchid, the sepals that form the helmet of the flower bear several purple lines, and the leaves of the green winged orchid lack purple spots. This plant is strongly associated with unimproved grasslands, whereas the early purple orchid can be found in grasslands and woodland.
To those of you who have not been, as well as being a wonderful garden full of innovative horticultural ideas, Great Dixter is also a great place to view wildlife, particularly species associated with meadows. It is closed for the winter, but opened briefly on Mothers Day. During our visit we spotted displaying great crested newt, with lots of eggs of this species laid on water soldier Stratiodes aloides, found a queen buff tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris disappearing down what looked like a nest entrance and also found a pine ladybird Exochomus 4-pustulatus. This small shiny black ladybird with 4 red spots (the front two kidney shaped) and a slight flattened rim around the edge of the wing case has not been recorded before from this ten kilometre square.
With the ongoing invasion of harlequin ladybirds there has probably never been a more important time to submit records of the British ladybirds, and you can do this on this website (click link) that also has some useful information on identification and good photographs/distribution maps of each species.