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Bee Orchid

I have two fields, one I grow as a flower meadow then graze over winter, the other is summer grazing for sheep. I was topping the sheep field yesterday and found a Bee Orchid in full flower. I left it with the intention of moving it to the flower meadow, but overnight a sheep has taken the top off. My question is what to do, will the orchid give a second flush of flower ? should I move it now or wait ? I should have put a cage over it but that's hindsight.


  • Oh, should have said, this photo is of the actual orchid, had to lie down to snap it, so glad I did, but so sad it's now gone.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,662
    @tonystapleton I don't think that they will send up another spike but how lovely for you to have seen them. Moving them you need to take up as much of the soil around them as they need the fungus in the soil to help them but it can be risky. Can you leave them in the field and make a cage to protect the site for next year?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,923
    I think accepted wisdom is not to attempt to move orchids except when there is no other alternative.  It’s a very specialised thing to do. 

    Mark the spot and protect it next year. 

    You could seek advice from your local Wildlife Trust. 

    If you don’t have their contact details you can find them here 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 3,695
    Agree with @Dovefromabove Mark with canes so you know where it is and try constructing a cage to protect from sheep.
    You can actually move them but you will need to ensure that you are moving them to a similar situation.
    As above, ask your local wildlife people before you attempt it.  Beautiful flowers and worth protecting  :)
  • Whoop, whoop, the bee orchid is back after being eaten by a ewe last summer. Also found two more in a grass track next to the field, well, I think they're the same, found them as rosettes and moved them to the woodland edge away from mower. Might be something more spectacular (second image).

  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,580
    That's great it came back, and you found it again! 😃
  • Does anyone know when to collect bee orchid seed pods for propagation ?
    Or a pointer to a web site. All the ones I found needed a sterile laboratory.

  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,662
    Can you get in contact with your local Wildlife Trust. They will have someone who can come and give you advice.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    It will propagate itself naturally. What you are doing in the sheep field is obviously to the orchid's liking, as they have started popping up from the seed bank naturally in the soil. If you continue management in the same way you will likely find more appearing. They might be shaded out in the flower meadow hence why they are appearing in the sheep field. You might help them spread even more if you give the sheep field a break from grazing while the orchids flower and go to seed. Could you divert the sheep into the flower meadow in early July and bring them back after the orchids have done their thing?
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • SalixGoldSalixGold Posts: 450
    I would suggest getting rid of the sheep.
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