BPC goes hunting for orchids! 8-Sep-2013

It is an amazing thing the Adelaide Hills orchids.  The tiny little flowers, no larger than your fingernail are intricate, precise and exquisite.  It is a special thing to find these small beauties.

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My Uncle Bob had told me to look for orchids on the October long weekend.  But I have discovered that this gives only a small part of the whole picture.  There is a progression of species that starts in mid winter (July) and extends all the way through to early summer (December).  What you see depends upon what time of year you go looking.  First there are the helmet orchids and greenhoods and mosquito orchid followed by the yellow sun orchid, the waxlip and the donkeys, the spiders then the various blue salmon and white sun orchids and lastly the hyacinth orchid.  Thrown in amongst these are rarer species that I don’t see very often – bearded orchids, duck orchids and fire orchids.

So we planned this trip in early September.  What happened?  There was only a small group who met for this excursion.  Kim and Glori had photographed them in Western Australia.  Heather and Reg have been walking the trails of Belair national park and had a good idea where to look.  Mark and Jenny have been volunteer weeders in the park for a number of years and were also aware of where the orchids could be found.  Alan seemed to be quite familiar with them also.  Jo, although she didn’t attended this excursion, had driven along the Sheoak road boundary to photograph them a day or two previously.  You can see from the attached photographs what a wide selection we encountered.

Earlier on in the excursion Kim felt disappointed that we would see only 1 or 2 species.  Mostly the donkey orchids.  Heather however proved extremely valuable in adding to this number with a lot of discoveries.  I had to leave early.  As I departed, Alan arrived, adding further to the number of species encountered.  Kim and Glori had brought black and white backing screens to help isolate the flowers in the picture.  It is a funny thing seeing everyone getting down onto their haunches to train their macro lenses on the tiny flowers, a mere 5-10cms above the ground.  It is amazing how a tiny breeze comes out of nowhere and starts to move the flower around, just as you thought you had it focused. Although a small group, we were passionate and enthused and it was an enjoyable excursion for all.

James Allan

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