Saturday, 5 March 2011

Spring is almost with us

This year holds the promise a wonderful spring: last year the weather was unseasonably cool until June, but this year the sun is already out and the plants are really starting to grow.

We have an orchard which is managed to make the most of the wild orchids of the area, and it looks like this year we will have even more orchids than last year. Already we have signs of over 300 plants. There is a substantial colony of Early Spider Orchids (Ophrys sphegodes), which will be the first to flower, along with Lady Orchids (Orchis purpurea). Some weeks later, Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) and Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) should start to flower in nearly as great a number.

Bee Orchid
Last year there was also a single tiny specimen of Greater Butterfly Orchid (Plantathera chlorantha) which we are hoping will have spread its seed. The roadsides also have substantial orchid colonies, so in the space of two hours it is not unusual to see 10 or 12 different orchid species.

Luckily, at Loire Valley Time Travel we have a nature and wildlife expert: Susan is a trained Field Taxonomist. If you are visiting the Loire Valley or South Touraine and would like to take an orchid walk with Susan, email us to arrange a "follow my leader" tour. These walks are available in May and June (and late April or early July if the season is favourable) for groups of 2-6 people. All of the sites are privately owned, and in some cases special access has been granted for these walks. The cost is €50 per group .