I met Our Lass as she left work and we went into Kirkwall for tea. This was a treat, too, as we don't eat out so much these days. Then we drove over to Finstown for 18.30 to meet up with the group.
It was a sunny evening, though with a north easterly breeze, as fourteen of us climbed up towards Heddle Hill, pausing only to look at the splendid display of blooms in the community garden.
The meadow in question is unimproved (no fertiliser, so low in nutrients), with underlying sandstone bordering on limestone. It is grazed through the winter by sheep and cattle, which helps to keep the grass sward in check and increases the chances of wildflower seed dispersal and a good contact with the soil.
Immediately upon entering the pasture, it was obvious that it was a special place, with plenty of Northern Marsh and Heath Spotted Orchid (plus a fair bit of hybridisation). Also in profusion were Common Twayblade, Butterwort, Lousewort and Lady's Mantle.
Fewer in number, but a joy to see, were Fairy Flax, Moonwort, Ragged Robin, Eyebright, Wild Thyme and a Speedwell species, plus a small amount of Bog Asphodel that won't flower for several weeks yet.
|Unimproved? In a way, it's a bizarre description. How can you better this?|
|Heath Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza maculata|
|Moonwort, Botrychium lunaria|
|Possibly... Marsh Lousewort, Pedicularis palustris|