Hardy Orchid oasis chosen by plant-hunter Lark Hanham
Plant hunters and connoisseurs this is a collection for you. Imagine, a dreamy drift of naturalising orchids growing in your very own garden. This trio of terrestrial orchids, which can be found in unadulterated areas in many parts of Europe and north America, and although they may give the appearance of being very pernickety, once settled in the right location, they grow in vigour and strength every year and are very hardy, robust perennials. The key to success is perfecting their habitat and their soil substrate, the three below lend themselves to sites which are moisture retentive, so place near a pond or stream in informal swathes to produce interest and colour from May-October.
Broad leaf Marsh orchid
Growing to 60cm tall, the beauty of this variety only becomes apparent in close quarters. Its lanceolate pointed green foliage emerges from a bulb like storage system in spring and is irregularly spotted with vivid flecks of purple. Flowering can commence as early as Late May and continue into July. Featuring up to 40 mini florets, the purple flowers for appear in a pointed conical fashion, but as flowering continues, they elongate and stretch upwards forming slender wands of beauty. Again, they thrive in poorly drained low nutrient soils.
Native to the marshlands and woodland edges of Europe and Asia this ground dwelling orchid is unusual and incredibly charming. It can be seen in late spring forming a compact collection of pointed herbaceous leaves. Its growth goes into dormancy over winter like any other true perennial and its energy is stored in its thick rhizomatous roots. It flowers in July to September, holding up to 20 intricately detailed almost frilly blooms which accentuate the charm. It thrives in calcareous (chalky) moisture retentive soils with a low nutrient level, so no peat or feeding!
'Chadd's Ford' AGM
This award-winning garden worthy specimen forms a majestic sward of flower spires late in the season form late August to October, each one wafting an impressive, heady scent, of sweet Jasmine and vanilla. Its vigour is impressive, over time as clumps mature, they provide ample vertical interest from its 70cm tall erect flower spires. Each stem is arranged in an interesting whirling fashion and holds up to 70 dual-lipped sparkling white miniature blooms. It’ll thrive in semi shade and moisture retentive peaty soils. Spread 40cm.
How to buy
Buy Lark’s antioxidant-rich asparagus
● Buy one from £21
● Buy the mix of three for £42, save £21
● Buy the mix of six for only £75, saving £51
Supplied in 9cm pots in April 2020*. Order at gardenshop.telegraph.co.uk/orcho or call 03337720325. Contract for supply of goods is with Hayloft Plants Ltd. *Offers subject to availability. Offer closing date 4th May. P&P £4.95
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