Friday, 25 April 2014

A Great Year for Orchids on the Farm.

A rare Man Orchid growing amongst the rocks in our wild flower meadow.

Our wild flower meadows are array with wild orchids this year and there are six different types in flower at the moment. To see so many of these rare and beautiful flowers is very rewarding and gives us encouragament for the management program we implemented in our wild flower meadows many years ago.

A Woodcock Ophry Orchid growing just 5 meters from the hotel

Close up of an Early Purple Orchid 

Early Purple Orchids next to the farm trail

It’s not as though we do anything extra special on these meadows other than follow traditional farming practices. We cut the meadows for hay in late June and then have the sheep grazing the meadows in November. We’ve been following this system for over 10 years and the continuity of our practices along with the weather is really showing the benefits this year; lots of orchids and a great biodiversity in general..

Close up of a  Provence Orchid

Lots of Provence Orchids in the meadow

One of the first Heart Flowered Serapia blooming in the meadow

Tongue Serapias  growing in abundance in the meadows.

One of the major problem we have with maintaining the population of orchids on these meadows is wild boars. These large animals, which run wild here, love to dig up the orchid rhizomes and eat them like they were a delicacy grown especially for them.  As a consequence a lot of the orchids in our meadows are found growing in the rocks where it’s more difficult for the boars to dig them out.

Signs of wild boar rooting in the meadows

Woodcock  Ophry growing in the rocks

So for guests lucky enough to be walking round the farm trail this time of the year there are orchids galore to be seen! There will also be plenty of other wild flowers in our meadows over the next two months and with them an amazing array of butterflies.

An unusual all-yellow Man Orchid in our meadow

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.