Rather recently there was a BBC story regarding graveyards being nature reserves. By happy coincidence I spent a chunk of my morning on my hands and knees in a graveyard. See why?
How about now?
OK let's have a closer look.....
We're dealing with a tiny orchid here, Autumn Ladies Tresses, Spiranthes spiralis. My (perfectly normal sized hand shows how small they are (this is a big one)....
Small but stunningly beautiful.
The curl of the stem really did remind me of a particular girl's hair. The grass here is perfect for them and many other small wildflowers - reduced in vigour by regular mowing over a period of decades.
Interestingly almost all the graveyard had been mown except for the bit
with these in. I don't know whether that was because this bit got left
to look after the orchids, or whether it all got mowed and they hadn't
been got to yet, or indeed whether a shedload of other plants had
already been mowed. I rather like the idea of an ancient groundsman turning off his mower ahead of this little area to protect his autumn ladies tresses each year. I really like the idea of the whole graveyard getting mowed far less regularly and being full of these ephemeral little sprites.
I think I'd quite like to spend my decaying period underneath some beautiful little orchids..